Scammers cheat $5,000 woman through fake Amazon purchases

There are scammers. They target victims via email, fake ads, malicious websites, text messages, social media posts and more. Once we catch one scam, another group takes its place.

A recent viral TikTok video tells a story about a family staying at a hotel and ordering room service from a fake menu shoved under their door. The father revealed his debit card details to a scammer when he placed his order. Tap or click here to learn more about this scary situation and how to avoid it.

It seems like everyone shops on Amazon, doesn’t it? It’s no surprise that crooks invoke the name of the retail juggernaut as part of their trade. A woman was scammed out of thousands in a phone scam where she was led to believe someone had opened her Amazon account.

the call

A 79-year-old woman in Michigan was defrauded of thousands of dollars in a phone scam in May, according to a report by the United States Detroit Free Press† A woman called the victim and said a $1,581 order had been placed on her Amazon account.

The caller passed the phone to a man who claimed to be a US Marshal. He said several bank accounts had been opened with the elderly woman’s ID and $270,000 had been transferred from one of these accounts. The man accused the victim of fraud.

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Then the “Marshal” told the woman to withdraw her money in cash and put it on gift cards so that the government wouldn’t confiscate it. Gift cards? That’s an old trick used by many scammers and a big red flag.

The woman went to her credit union and withdrew $6,500 in cash. She was then told by the man on the phone to drive to a store and buy $2,000 in gift cards. The scammers had her read out the numbers on the gift cards as soon as they were loaded with her money.

The man then instructed the victim to visit another store to purchase more gift cards. Then she was exhausted and went home. She had put about $5,000 on gift cards by the end.

The victim called the police the next day, ignoring further calls from the scammer. The agent who came by confirmed that all the money on the gift cards was gone.

What to do if this happens to you?

If you have fallen for this scam or any similar scam then you need to take immediate action. Here’s what to do:

Write down all information about the scammer and block his phone number. Take screenshots of your conversation to show the police. Contact the gift card issuer and ask to speak to the fraud department if they have one. If not, tell the customer service representative that you have been the victim of a scam and ask if they can refund your losses. Do not throw away the gift card or gift card. File a report with the police and report the scam to the FTC

Tap or click here to learn more about what to do if you’ve been scammed.

Protect yourself from future scams

You can take precautions to reduce the chance of becoming a victim. Here are some suggestions:

No government agency and most businesses would never ask for payment in gift cards. Do not provide any personal information if you do not trust the person or cannot verify their identity. Never send payments of any kind to anyone on the phone you don’t know. If a caller creates a sense of urgency, hang up. If you receive a phone call or email about suspicious activity on one of your accounts, sign in to that account to confirm.

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