ARLINGTON, VA— Want some advice on scams? Stay calm. Scammers use this sense of alarm to trick victims into taking action before they can think about it. BBB Scam Tracker sees reports of a scam that claims your Amazon, PayPal, or other account has been compromised. The crooks hope you panic and fall for their scheme.
How the scam works
You receive an email, call, or text letting you know that there has been suspicious activity in your bank or on another account, such as Amazon, Netflix, or PayPal. You should take immediate action to prevent your account from being compromised or to avoid being charged for a fraudulent purchase. Do not fall into the trap !
The email version of this scam uses the company logo, colors, and language to make the message look like an official alert. In some examples, emails are almost indistinguishable from reality. A link in the message leads to the website asking for your account number, username and password. If you share this information, you allow fraudsters to access this account, as well as any other place where you use the same password.
In the phone version, the caller claims to have noticed an expensive charge, which you did not make, on your account. Some victims told BBB Scam Tracker that the caller tricked them into downloading bogus “security software”. It is actually malware, which allowed crooks to access sensitive information, such as passwords.
Learn more about this scam in the full scam alert at BBB.org.
How to avoid these scams:
• Be extra careful with unsolicited calls, emails and text messages. Do not be quick to believe allegations of unsolicited communications.
• Want to check your account status? Go directly to the site. Do not click on links in suspicious emails. Instead, go directly to the website in question and log into your account. Or find the company’s official phone number (check your invoice or welcome email) and call them to confirm that there really is a case of suspicious activity associated with your account.
• Understand how businesses manage communications. If you know how disputes and suspicious activity are handled, it will be easier to spot a scam. For example, PayPal makes it clear that it will never send you an email asking for your password or to download attachments or software.
• Don’t panic or feel intimidated. The crooks want you to panic. They can use bullying tactics to get you to act before you have time to think. Stay calm and think carefully. Legitimate businesses won’t intimidate you this way.
• Never give your personal information to strangers. If you don’t speak or correspond with someone you know and trust, don’t give them sensitive information.
For more information
Learn more about scams masquerading as Amazon and how to protect yourself against phishing.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.