FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — There’s still a couple hours left to score some deals for Amazon Prime Day, but before you shop you might want to make sure your personal information is safe.
A Fairview Park resident lost $6,900 after someone claiming to work for Amazon convinced her to purchase iTunes gift cards because she had a fraudulent charge that was made on her Visa account, according to the Fairview Park Police Department.
“It's all different types of scams,” Fairview Park Police Chief Paul Shepard said.
On June 16, a Fairview Park woman received a call from someone who claimed to work for Amazon, police said. The person said she had a fraudulent charge of $499.99 on her Visa account. The fake employee told the woman to download the app called "Anydesk" onto her computer and enter the amount of $500.
Anydesk is a software that gives remote access to personal computers.
“It basically opens up your computer to an outside person so they can go through your files, personal banking,” Shepard said.
She followed the caller's directions, but the amount entered into her account was changed to $5,000.
She was told to buy $4,500 in iTunes gift cards to make up for the difference, scratch off the security foil on the back and provide card numbers to the scammers.
In addition to the money she spent on gift cards, an additional $2,400 was taken from her bank accounts.
Fairview Park police are investigating and the woman was told to change her bank account information.
“What we say is they are pros at being cons,” said Sue McConnell, the president and CEO, of the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Cleveland. “Amazon is not going to ask you to go buy gift cards for any reason. So don't believe it's Amazon. Don't allow anybody to instruct you to install an app on your computer. It's going to give them access. Don't provide any personal information about which banks you use or your password on your bank accounts and don't buy gift cards in an attempt to correct fraudulent purchases. It doesn't work that way.”
McConnell said the BBB has seen an increase in reports of bogus Amazon calls to their scam tracker site.
“The scammers are using Amazon because so many of us have Amazon accounts. So chances are good these robocalls are going to reach people who do have Amazon accounts and will think this call is real,” McConnell said.
Her advice? If someone calls you claiming to be from Amazon, don’t believe them and don’t keep it to yourself.
“Harness the power of speaking out and share this with others, report it if it happens to you, even if you never lose any money,” McConnell said.
Shepard says the incident in Fairview Park is still under investigation, but in the meantime, they’re warning people to be cautious and vigilant.
“Hopefully, we're able to get a fraud alert, get some of the funds back for our resident, but in the same sense, warn other people not to fall victim,” Shepard said.
An Amazon spokesperson released the following statement:
"Any customer that receives a questionable email, call or text from a person impersonating an Amazon employee should report them to Amazon customer service. Amazon investigates these complaints and will take action, if warranted."
Suspicious calls or emails from people impersonating Amazon employees can be submitted to: email@example.com.
How to tell if an email or phone call is really from Amazon? Click here.
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