CLEVELAND — Northeast Ohio consumers and the Greater Cleveland Better Business Bureau report residents are receiving fake Amazon purchase invoices by email and by phone.
Northeast Ohio consumer Gretchen Lazar said she was sent an email that looked like an official Amazon invoice for nearly $5,000 in electronic gaming stations that she never purchased.
Lazar said when she called what appeared to be a consumer service number listed on the email to stop the fake Amazon purchase, she was told she had to purchase gift cards to secure her personal information.
Lazar said the person on the phone told her she was the victim of hackers for across the globe, so she purchased $3,900 in gift cards and gave the fake customer service representative the card information.
“They’re very professional for number one, I did not think for a minute that I was being scammed," Lazar said. “They scared me, telling me my identity was compromised and that they needed to block these IP addresses. I just got tired and said I needed to go home, and that’s when it hit me, I think I’ve just been scammed.
“I called Amazon, gave them the 800 numbers that I called and they confirmed that it was not their number. They actually called me back the next day telling me I had to get more cards, and that’s when I told him I said 'I don’t think you’re from Amazon,' and he got nasty and I basically just asked him how he sleeps at night. It’s like I don’t trust anything or anyone anymore, which is kind of sad."
Sue McConnell, President of the Greater Cleveland BBB, said a company customer service team would never ask for money to secure a consumers personal information.
“It’s very clever, they’re just taking advantage of the holiday shopping season," McConnell said. “It’s a red flag if they start asking you to purchase gift cards to clear up fraud on your account, or ask for your credit card number, or your Amazon password or log-in. Contact the company directly on your own, look them up online, see what their customer service number is, what their web address is, and contact them directly to see if this communication is from them.
“We’ve heard of consumer who receive these calls who don’t even have Amazon accounts.”