Detectives in Nottinghamshire are warning the public about a spate of scams where fraudsters pretend to be from Amazon.
Over the past few weeks, a number of residents have been targeted by scammers who tried to steal their personal and financial information.
A number of scams are doing the rounds, with victims contacted out of the blue either by phone call, text message or email.
In one incident in Forest Town, a woman lost £300 after receiving a call from someone claiming to be from “Amazon Prime security”. She was told her account had been compromised and after gaining the woman’s trust, the fraudster instructed them to download remote access software, which was subsequently used to access the victim’s online bank account.
Elsewhere, a Nottingham woman was duped into spending £1,000 on Amazon Gift Cards and passing over the serials numbers so they could be used after receiving a email from a scammer posing as her manager.
Meanwhile, a lady with dementia received an automated phone call stating someone had used her Amazon Prime account and they wanted to refund her £150. She was instructed to press 1 to speak to a customer service representative and was put through to a male who knew her name and address. The male asked for her bank details so Amazon could refund her – but thankfully she refused after suspecting it was a scam.
Detective Sergeant Sally Collins, of Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud unit, said that whilst a number of Amazon-related scams were circulating, the tell-tale signs were similar.
“During the correspondence, the scammer will find a reason to request the personal or financial information of the victim. They will typically ask victims to provide their Amazon account numbers and log-in information, their credit card number, or their Social Security number.
“For example, they might call you and say that someone has used your Amazon account to order an expensive item such as a laptop. Because the item was of a high value, the representative says Amazon needs to verify that you made the order.
“When you tell the representative that you did not make the order, the scammer will typically ask for your Amazon account log-in information and credit card number. The scammer will explain that this information is necessary to cancel the order and protect your account from further fraudulent activities.
“If you provide this information, the scammer can later access your Amazon account to run up illegal purchases in your name. The criminal might also use your credit card information to access your online credit card account, using it to make even more fraudulent purchases. To cause you even more financial pain, the scammer might sell this financial information on the dark web to the highest bidders.”
DS Collins said Nottinghamshire Police was raising awareness of the scams to help the public be vigilant. She said:
“It’s not surprising that Amazon scams have become increasingly common in recent years, as the more people who shop on the site, the more opportunities there are for criminals to con them out of their financial information.
“But if you remain vigilant and remember to never provide your personal information when contacted out of the blue, you can protect yourself from these scams, no matter how common the fake phone calls become.”
Amazon itself provides several warning signs of a call scam:
It’s about an order you never placed: If the call is about an order you never placed, the representative on the other end of the phone is not from Amazon. Instead of providing any information, log onto your Amazon account and click on the “Returns & Orders” tab at the top of the page. This will bring up a list of any outstanding and recently delivered orders. If the caller isn't asking about one of these, it's a scam.
The caller asks for your personal information: Amazon representatives will never ask for your personal or financial information during a phone call. If a caller asks for your credit card or Amazon account number, hang up. You're talking to a scammer.
The caller is vague about what you ordered: If the caller never states exactly what you ordered and just refers to “your purchase,” that’s another sign that a criminal is fishing for your personal or financial information.
The caller is pressuring you to act quickly. Scammers like to create a sense of urgency. A caller might state that if you don’t immediately provide your account number someone might run up thousands of pounds of new purchases in your name. This is a trick designed to make you panic. When you panic, you’re more likely to surrender important personal information.
The call is a recorded message. Amazon doesn’t send robocalls, which are recorded messages sent to multiple callers. If you receive a recorded message stating that Amazon has noticed fraudulent activity on your account and might have to freeze your access to it? Hang up. It’s a scam. And if one of these robocalls leaves a message on your voicemail? Erase it and never return the call.
If you receive a scam call from someone claiming to be a representative from Amazon, whether you surrendered financial information or immediately hung up on the caller, report the suspicious activity to Amazon at: Report Something Suspicious - Amazon Customer Service
When you visit this page, you'll have several options. You can click on different links depending on how much, if any, information you provided to scammers.
Further information on how to identify whether an email, phone call or text message is from Amazon can be found on their website.
You can also report fraudulent activity to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.