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  • Geebo 8:04 am on November 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , product tester,   

    Amazon job scams plague social media 

    Amazon job scams plague social media

    By Greg Collier

    Trend Micro is a company that sells suites of security software to both corporations and individuals. This is neither an advertisement nor an endorsement of Trend Micro’s products. However, they recently posted on their blog about a job scam that’s circulating on social media that involves retail giant Amazon.

    According to Trend Micro, scammers are taking to social media posing as former Amazon employees. Much like the fake jewelry discount scam we recently profiled, the scammers are promising secret ways for people to make money with Amazon.

    The scammers’ posts claim anyone can make $1500 a month by becoming a product tester for Amazon. The reader is then directed to go to one of several phony websites. Once someone arrives at one of those websites, they’re taken to a survey where they’re told they can claim a gift after completing it.

    Typically, with scams like this, the scammers are after two things, your personal information and your payment information. We’ve seen survey scams like this before, but not one disguised as a job offer. At the end of the survey, the applicant is asked to enter their mailing info to get their free gift, but the applicant has to pay for the shipping. That’s when the scammers obtain someone’s payment information along with their name and address. Under the guise of a job offer, scammers could get a lot more information from victims as well, such as their Social Security number.

    The main problem with this scam is that testing products for Amazon is a legitimate program. However, real Amazon testers do not get paid. Under the Amazon Vine program, reviewers can receive free products to give their feedback about, but the program is invite-only.

    As with any online job posting, research the posting before applying. If you find a listing on social media that sounds too good to be true, go to the company’s website to see if such a job is actually being offered.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 14, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , ,   

    Shipping scams increase in wake of online sales season 

    Shipping scams increase in wake of online sales season

    By Greg Collier

    Amazon Prime Day was this past week. It’s become such a staple of the summer shopping season that a number of other online retailers have initiated their own sales which coincide with Prime Day. With so many items being purchased, the majority of shipping companies and the USPS will be extra busy delivering all these packages. This means consumers should expect various shipping scams whether they bought anything or not this week.

    The most common of these scams is the delayed delivery scam. This is where a consumer will receive a text message that claims to typically come from UPS, FedEx, or the USPS. The messages will say that your item could not be delivered for whatever reason. A link will be contained in the message where the recipient will be asked to update their shipping information. More often than not, the phony shipping company will also say there is a service fee involved, and the consumer will be asked for their payment information. While the service fee may be small, it’s really the payment information the scammers are after.

    Scammers don’t actually know whether you made a Prime purchase this week or not. They send out these text messages en masse, hoping to catch a few victims. Any unsolicited text message with a link in it should be treated as suspect. However, if you are expecting an important delivery and want to make sure there are no delivery issues, use the shipping company’s app or website to address any concerns. Clicking on links in suspicious messages could lead to having your phone infected with malware, spyware, or ransomware.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , ,   

    Brushing scam sends luxury knock-offs 

    Brushing scam sends luxury knock-offs

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re unfamiliar with the brushing scam, it’s when a seller or a third-party vendor creates fake customer accounts on an online marketplace like Amazon. The scammer then ships inexpensive or sometimes completely worthless items to the addresses associated with those fake accounts. The scammer can then leave positive reviews from the fake accounts, boosting their seller rating and improving their visibility on the platform. This can lead to increased sales and higher rankings in search results, thereby tricking other buyers into thinking the seller is trustworthy.

    Sometimes, the items sent to consumers don’t even match the item the scammers are reviewing. They just need to make it appear as if the consumer received one of their items, so they can claim it was a verified purchase. Consumers used in a brushing scam tend to receive low-value and lightweight items to make the scam affordable for scammers. However, in Chicago, residents there are receiving some unusual goods.

    According to news reports, Chicago area residents have been receiving fake luxury items which they didn’t order. The example used in the news report was a counterfeit Cartier ring, complete with a ‘certificate of authentication’. The Federal Trade Commission has remarked that other items have been sent as well, like a counterfeit Burberry scarf. But the FTC would also like to remind us that no one is going to send the authentic items to people for free.

    While the brushing scam may seem like a victimless crime, it really isn’t. If the scams are successful, the algorithms sites like Amazon use will recommend these shady sellers instead of legitimate ones. In turn, this leads to consumers getting inferior products. Not only that, but there is also a security risk involved. While you can legally keep the items sent to you, it may mean that one of your retail accounts may have been compromised. If you receive one of these unsolicited packages, log in to your retail account and make sure it wasn’t charged to you. Even if it wasn’t, you should change your password and enable two-factor authentication on your account.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon, , , look who died, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: The classics make a return 

    By Greg Collier

    Even though there has been an uptick in technologically advanced scams, there are some classic scams that never went away. Here are three we think you should be reminded of.

    If you get a phone call or email that says there’s been a fraudulent charge on your Amazon account, the chances are it’s a scam.

    A woman from Lincoln, Nebraska, recently fell victim to this scam when she thought she was talking to the fraud department of her bank. The scammers convinced her she needed to make payments in Bitcoin to correct the error. She ended up sending the scammers $52,000 in Bitcoin after withdrawing it from her 401K.

    If you receive a call or message like this, go directly to your Amazon account and check for fraudulent charges. If there aren’t any, then whoever contacted you is trying to scam you. No matter how urgent they make it seem, slow down and verify their story before sending any money. And if Bitcoin is brought up in the conversation, then it’s definitely a scam.

    Scammers love to hijack Facebook accounts. When they do, not only do they get your personal information, but they can then use your account to try to scam everyone on your friends list.

    One of the ways they do this is by sending a Facebook message that says, “Look who died.” The message contains a link that appears like it will take you to a news article. Instead, it will inject malware onto your device that can hijack your Facebook account.

    Messenger is a pretty big breeding ground for scams. Outside of the ‘look who died’ message, you should also avoid messages about government grants, cryptocurrency, or just about any message that involves money.

    You may also want to let your Facebook friend know outside of Facebook that their account has been hacked.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the Publisher’s Clearinghouse scam. We’re all familiar with PCH. If you win a substantial prize from them, they surprise you at home in their Prize Van with a large novelty check. The thing with PCH is, you have to enter their sweepstakes first before you can win anything.

    Scammers will call victims at random while posing as PCH, telling their victims they’ve won millions of dollars. The scammers will then try to get their victims to make a payment to claim their prize. The payment will be disguised as something like taxes or processing fees. This is known as the advanced fee scam, which has cost victims thousands of dollars. Once a victim makes payment, the scammers will continue to string the victim along by asking for more money.

    Keep in mind, it’s illegal for sweepstakes like PCH to ask for money before issuing a prize. That’s why legitimate sweepstakes always have the tagline of ‘no purchase necessary’.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , ,   

    Amazon scammers have too much information about you 

    Amazon scammers have too much information about you

    By Greg Collier

    Since the holidays just ended, most of us aren’t really thinking about Amazon unless we have a return to make. However, we’re thinking about Amazon due to a disturbing scam using its name. To be clear, we’re not saying that Amazon is outright scamming its customers. Rather, there are scammers who pose as Amazon employees to try to instill fear into their victims.

    This typically starts out with a phone call, email, or text message to the victim stating that the victim just purchased an expensive item. When the victim says they didn’t buy it, this starts a chain of deception designed to confuse and intimidate the victim. Unfortunately, most Amazon scams end the same way, with the victim turning their money over to the scammers.

    For example, a North Carolina woman recently received a text message that appeared to come from Amazon. The text said that she had purchased a smart lock for over $600. The message also included a phone number to call if the order had not been placed by her.

    The victim called the number and was told by ‘Amazon’ that her identity had been stolen. What’s particularly disturbing about this scam was that the scammers told the victim that her children’s identities had been stolen as well, and even named the children by their full names. That can be unsettling for any parent. To be fair, the scammers could have just gotten the children’s names from social media, but it’s still alarming to hear your kids’ names spoken by a stranger.

    However, the phony Amazon rep said they could help protect the family’s identities. All it would take is the victim sending $2000 to the rep in gift cards and cryptocurrency. By the victim’s own words, she said she was unfamiliar with cryptocurrency and ended the call. In the end, no money was lost, thankfully.

    Amazon is kind of like the government in that they’re not going to reach out to you unless there is already an ongoing issue you contacted them about. Even if someone uses your account to make a fraudulent purchase, Amazon is not going to call or text you. You would just receive the typical email that Amazon sends when someone makes an order. And anytime a business asks you to send them gift cards or cryptocurrency, you’re more than likely dealing with a scammer, as these forms of payment are largely untraceable.

    If you receive a notification or phone call like this, check your Amazon account first to see if any fraudulent purchases have been made on your account. Then contact Amazon’s customer service through their website. Never use the phone numbers included in these messages, as they’re guaranteed to go to a scammer.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , ,   

    Never send cash through the mail for any reason 

    Never send cash through the mail for any reason

    By Greg Collier

    Many of us probably got a delivery from Amazon in the past week or so. These deliveries will no doubt bring joy to our loved ones for the holidays. One Florida woman was almost not so lucky, as scammers posing as Amazon tried to bamboozle her in a convoluted scam.

    First, she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Amazon. They told her a $1500 item was being shipped out under her account. She probably told the fake Amazon rep that she didn’t order anything. She was then transferred to someone posing as an agent of the Federal Trade Commission, complete with badge number. That person transferred her to another person posing as her bank, in this case, Bank of America.

    The woman was then told by the phony bank rep that her identity has been compromised, but the only way to clear it up was to hire a lawyer or pay the bank $15,000. They told her if she didn’t comply, she would be arrested. If she told anyone what was happening, the scammers said they would be arrested too.

    She was told to mail boxes of cash, but after she made a second withdrawal, the scammers told her that they needed to her to buy stuff for them. Thankfully, she realized it was a scam at this point, and she did not lend up losing any money. But look how close she came.

    While the scammers in this case tipped their hand, there are some classic tenets of scams in this one. The first one if the call from Amazon. Amazon rarely ever calls their customers. If you’ve ever received a legitimate call from Amazon, that’s winning the lottery type odds. The second is threatening someone with arrest if they don’t comply with the scammers demands. Normally, this is done when scammers pose as police, but police don’t threaten arrest for payment over the phone and neither do banks. If a business were to threaten a customer with arrest, that would be a PR disaster for that business. They also tried to keep the victim from talking to anyone else. This is usually seen in grandparent scam when phony police say there’s a gag order against you. That’s not how gag orders work. They only apply to when a case is in the process of going to trial. They can’t just be ordered against random citizens.

    Mailing a box of cash is also an old way that scammers try to collect money from their victims. There is no legitimate reason to send large amounts of cash through the mail. No law enforcement agency or legitimate business will ask you to send them cash through the mail.

    Video: Jupiter woman nearly loses thousands in scam, but recognizes red flags

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , ,   

    Why are online shoppers getting a cardboard square in the mail? 

    Why are online shoppers getting a cardboard square in the mail?

    By Greg Collier

    There have been reports from around the country of online shoppers receiving a weird delivery in their mail. Consumers who have used large online retail outlets like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart have reportedly been getting envelopes which have nothing in them but a cardboard square. To make matters more puzzling, they’re all supposedly coming from the same address in Nebraska. Is this some elaborate prank, or is there something more insidious at play?

    According to security experts, this is another version of the brushing scam. The brushing scam always involves getting items from retailers the recipients didn’t even order. This is largely done through Amazon, but has been known to be done through other online retailers. However, it’s not Amazon or other online retailers who are mailing out cardboard squares, the brushing scam is usually committed by third-party vendors who sell their items through retailers like Amazon.

    The reason vendors do this is to increase visibility of their product, although in an underhanded way. First, the vendors make it appear as if the recipient is a verified buyer of the item. This way, the vendors can put fake five-star reviews for their items in the recipient’s name. In turn, this increases the visibility of their item on websites like Amazon.

    Sometimes, the recipients will get a package that doesn’t even have the item that’s supposedly being sold. Instead, recipients will get something lightweight like a pair of cheap sunglasses, or in this case, a cardboard square. Scammers don’t want to actually use their money to pay for the postage quality items need.

    So, what does this mean for you if you receive an unordered item like this? The good news is you can keep the item you’ve received. The bad news is your online shopping accounts may have been compromised. Check your accounts like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and the like to make sure no purchases have been made without your knowledge. If there has, contact that retailer’s customer service immediately. If not, you’ll want to at least change the password on your retail accounts.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , ,   

    Scam victim gets hit with multiple scams at once 

    Scam victim gets hit with multiple scams at once

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve said in the past that if you’ve been scammed once, the odds are pretty good that you’ll be targeted by scammers again. Except, it doesn’t typically happen in one day. That’s what happened to one Texas senior who not only lost $75,000 to scammers, but they continued to plague her afterwards.

    It all started when she received a call from someone offering to install an antivirus program on her computer. The victim says she needed this for her computer, but in order to do so, the caller needed remote access to her computer. Right off the bat, the scammers are starting with the tech support scam. If the scammers aren’t saying they’re installing software, they’re telling you that you have a virus on your computer. Once scammers have access to a victim’s device, there’s an untold amount of havoc that can be wreaked using the victim’s personal information.

    But getting back to the story, the woman then received a message on her computer that said her Amazon account had been hacked, and she needed to call the listed phone number. Now, the scammers are following up with the Amazon scam. This is where scammers claim to be from Amazon and that there is something wrong with your account. This is done to either get your payment information, or the scammers will try to convince you that you need to ‘move your money’ to avoid being hacked.

    While on the phone with the fake Amazon representative, the victim was then told she was being transferred to the Federal Trade Commission. Not only did the scammers pretend to be with the FTC, but they pretended to be the current FTC chairwoman. This is what’s known as the government impersonation scam. Scammers will pose as anyone from local police to the chairs of federal commissions if they think they can intimidate their victims. Unfortunately, this is not the first instance we’ve seen of scammers posing as high-ranking government officials.

    The phony FTC chairwoman threatened the victim with arrest if she didn’t comply with her demands. The victim was told that someone was selling drugs and laundering money through her bank account. To ‘clean’ her money, the victim would need to wire it to the scammers posing as FBI agents.

    Again, when someone who is not familiar with how online activity works, it can be quite easy to fall for such a scam. However, there are tips to keep you or a relative safe. The first is not to allow anyone you don’t know personally to install software on your device, or give them remote access. Anyone calling to offer software is more than likely a scammer. Also, if your computer runs Windows 10 or 11, they have built-in security software already.

    If Amazon is calling or your device says you need to call them, it’s a scam. Amazon, or any other company, does not know the status of your device, nor do they know your banking activity. If any company besides your bank says there’s a problem with your bank account, they’re probably trying to scam you.

    Lastly, no legitimate government agency or law enforcement branch is going to threaten you with arrest over the phone. Neither will they ever ask you to move your money to ‘clean’ it, whatever that means.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , ,   

    New twist to Amazon phone scam 

    New twist to Amazon phone scam

    By Greg Collier

    Due to the popularity and reach of Amazon, it’s no surprise that the online retailer has been used in many scams. Whether it’s because of third-party sellers committing brushing scams, or scammers asking for payment in Amazon gift cards, the Amazon brand is no stranger to being used as a weapon in the scammer’s arsenal.

    However, the most common Amazon scam is the Amazon impersonation scam. This is where scammers will pose as an Amazon employee, typically over the phone. Sometimes the scam will start with an email that looks like an official email from Amazon, complete with the Amazon logo. Other times, the victims will be called directly. In both instances, the victim will be told there has been a large purchase on their account.

    Once the victim states that they didn’t make the purchase, the fake Amazon rep will direct the victim through some convoluted way of reversing the phony charge. Instead, what typically happens is the victim ends up losing money after giving their payment information to the scammers.

    More recently, law enforcement in the Kansas City Metro area have been receiving complaints about a new twist in this scam. According to reports, the scammers are now using a robocall that tells potential victims that if they hang up on the call, they’ll be charged $200 by Amazon and another $900 by their credit or debit card company.

    Scammers will almost always use some type of threat to get their victims into a panicked state. An $1100 penalty payment would just about get anyone to panic. And when someone panics, they’re not thinking clearly. This can allow scammers to get a victim’s financial information almost effortlessly.

    The best way to prevent a scam is to be prepared for one. If you receive a call or email from Amazon saying there’s a fraudulent charge on your account, check your Amazon account first and your payment method second to make sure there have been no fraudulent charges. But you should also keep in mind that Amazon seldom calls one of their customers. Even if they did, there’s no scenario where they can charge you $900 for hanging up on them.

    If you’re feeling pressured by anyone who calls you out of the blue talking about money, there are good odds that they are a scammer.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activation scam, Amazon, Prime Video, ,   

    Amazon and Zelle used to scam veteran 

    Amazon and Zelle used to scam veteran

    By Greg Collier

    An Army veteran from Florida recently fell victim to a scam while trying to set up his smart TV. The man was trying to activate Amazon’s Prime Video app on his TV when he received an error message. Typically, this error message states that there is a connectivity issue and refers you to an official Amazon help page for assistance. However, if someone were to take the URL of the Amazon page and use it in a Google search instead of going directly to the Amazon page, you could find a scam site listed at the top of the search results.

    The former soldier found himself on just such a page, where he was asked to enter an access code to authorize his device. In this case, it doesn’t matter what access code is input. Someone could put in any string of numbers and letters and still be taken to the next part of the scam. After the man entered the code, he was taken to a page that asked him to call a customer service number.

    After he called the number, the scammer was able to gain access to the man’s Amazon account and did help him install the Prime Video app to his TV. Scammers do this to try to add legitimacy to their scam. Then, the man was told that his Amazon account had been compromised, and he needed to transfer money out of his bank account using the Zelle app to protect his accounts. Before it was all over, the man had lost $6000 to the scammers. As is typical with Zelle scams, the man’s bank has refused any kind of refund.

    When dealing with online customer service or tech support, always make sure you’re at the correct website. In this instance, make sure you’re at an Amazon.com address and not some address that appears to have no connection to Amazon. Also, no legitimate business will ask you to make any kind of transaction using the Zelle app. Apps like Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App are only supposed to be used between family and friends. This is why these apps don’t offer the same protections you might receive with a credit or debit card.

    Lastly, this scam shows once again that anybody can fall victim to a scam. The victim in this scam even said as much to local media when he told them, “I’m 68 years old. I’m a vet. I thought I knew everything. I thought I was smart when it came to things like that.”

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