Federal Trade Commission

10/20/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/20/2021 23:16

Amazon impersonators: what you need to know

Share this page

October 20, 2021
by
Maria Mayo
Acting Associate Director, Division of Consumer Response and Operations

Has Amazon contacted you to confirm a recent purchase you didn't make or to tell you that your account has been hacked? According to the FTC's new Data Spotlight, since July 2020, about one in three people who have reported a business impersonator scamsay the scammer pretended to be Amazon.

These scams can look a few different ways. In one version, scammers offer to "refund" you for an unauthorized purchase but "accidentally transfer" more than promised. They then ask you to send back the difference. What really happens? The scammer moves your own money from one of your bank accounts to the other (like your Savings to Checkings, or vice versa) to make it look like you were refunded. Any money you send back to "Amazon" is your money (not an overpayment) - and as soon as you send it out of your account, it becomes theirs. In another version of the scam, you're told that hackers have gotten access to your account - and the only way to supposedly protect it is to buy gift cards and share the gift card number and PIN on the back. Once that information is theirs, the money is, too.

Here are some ways to avoid an Amazon impersonator scam:

  • Never call back an unknown number. Use the information on Amazon's website and not a number listed in an unexpected email or text.
  • Don't pay for anything with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts. If anyone asks you to pay with a gift card - or buy gift cards for anything other than a gift, it's a scam.
  • Don't give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This gives scammers easy access to your personal and financial information-like access to your bank accounts.

Have you spotted this scam? Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

If you think someone has gotten access to your accounts or personal information, visit IdentityTheft.gov. There, you'll find steps to take to see if your identity has been misused, and how to report and recover from identity theft.

Blog Topics:
Money & Credit, Privacy, Identity & Online Security
  • Add new comment

Comments

suzyq| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

My daughter and I have been getting phone calls telling us that my Amazon account has been hacked. They call at least once a month. Next time I hope to remember to report. Thanks for all the info you give out.

suzyq| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I have one question, how can these scammers move my money around from one account to another in my bank account?

FTC Staff| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

Some people said a scammer moved money around in their accounts after they gave the scammer remote access to their computer, laptop, or phone. If you give a scammer access to your device, they may be able to get into your bank account.

Nran54| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I had been scammed had received a call from one lady who said she was from Amazon I have already placed a complaint with American Express and the Monroe Township Police and at FTC.Gov.

Wary| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I have had a call last night (10/19) from a purported phone # beginning with a country code of #39 (Italy), and another today (10/20) from a purported phone # in Boise, ID. In both calls the person claims to be from Amazon customer service and that they have noticed some suspicious activity in my account, to wit, that a purchase of an iphone has been made with $1,100 being charged to the credit card linked to that Amazon account. Then, to get details or for further discussion, they ask me to dial "1".

SA SA| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

The way I see it, when I've received these, if they don't address you by name, it's a scam.
I then forward the email to Amazon's fraud department for their investigation.
And finally, I mark it as spam.
As a result, lately, I've seen fewer Amazon fraud messages.

dlakly| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I have received several emails using this scam. I always check my account to make sure nothing has been bought that i didn't buy. They also use a scam of saying you have been locked out your account until you call them and verify.

Mrs. Beadsie| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I must receive three of these calls daily and consistently hang up on them once the robo voice begins telling me about "my order" for Apple products. I do answer unknown ID calls simply because several of our medical contacts purposely use their cell phones that use only the number as their ID. And when I can, I do block these nuisance callers on both my land phone and cell phone. I really wish these marketing pests could become eliminated, but another scammer will develop a new idea to badger people.

kthompson| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I haven't gotten the 'your account has been hacked' call, but I've received several stating that I've ordered something and the card on my Amazon account rejected it. Anything from software subscription for $799, to $1200 for a TV being delivered to an Ohio address, or $900 due on some iPhones.

[email protected] Respond 5 | October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

Just now I got a call saying that an iPhone had been charged to me in error. I didn't follow instructions becuase I was afraid it was a scam. I was getting ready to call Amazon when I saw your article. Thank you once again for keeping us safe.

TGK| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

At least weekly, I receive such email letters representing PayPal and Apple, in addition to Amazon, informing me that my account has been limited and/or suspended and directing me to click the link to fix the issue. I always report them to Microsoft or PayPal directly as phishing or spam, but no action has ever been taken, except to tell me to ignore them, and I continue to receive them regularly. The messages are always from a different address, so untraceable, I suppose. Protect yourself because no one else can or will do anything to stop it.

Eunique| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

And another one! I was contacted today 10/20/21 about an $1100.00 purchase on my Amazon account. As soon as I heard that I hung up because I know its not true. Maybe, I should have stayed on, I don't know what they wanted me to do.

Gma22| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I get text messages saying my large $$ item purchase is in progress, it lists some crazy amount and says if I didn't make the purchase click the link to cancel. I never click the link. Amazon doesn't send random texts about purchases.

longhair| October 20, 2021
|
  • reply

I was called from someone pretending to be from" Amazon" as well. I have also been called or sent an email stating I should call Amazon at the number listed. I knew I hadn't ordered anything. I asked well what did I order but they wouldn't or couldn't tell me. I would call Amazon and ask had anyone from there called and they'd check it out and say no. And I'd never give out any information about myself.

Leave a Comment

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC's computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC's Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

Comment Policy

This is a moderated blog; we review all comments before they are posted. We expect participants to treat each other and the bloggers with respect. We will not post comments that do not comply with our commenting policy. We may edit comments to remove links to commercial websites or personal information before posting them.

We won't post:

  • spam or off-topic comments
  • comments that contain vulgar language, personal attacks, or offensive terms that target specific groups
  • sales pitches or promotions
  • comments that contain clearly misleading or false information
  • comments that contain personal information, like home addresses

Comments submitted to this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information. Also, do not use this blog to report fraud; instead, file a complaint.