In a costly Amazon scam, phishers impersonating the large retailer tricked a woman from Naples, Florida, into paying them over $20,000 just ahead of Black Friday.
The Amazon Scam Comes Right Before Black Friday
The Floridian woman’s ordeal started with a seemingly harmless, legit-looking email from Amazon regarding an item she did not purchase. In reality, a cunning fraudster impersonating the retailer orchestrated the whole thing. She clicked on a malicious link contained in the message, which gave the attacker access to her computer. He then claimed to have accidentally deposited a large sum of money into her account.
The unsuspecting victim agreed to return the money in cash and mailed $20,000 by UPS to an unknown location.
Pressuring Victims Into Paying
Naples Police Department Lt. Bryan McGinn said the scammer probably rushed the woman to give them the money, “which is exactly what fraudsters want you to do – not think and just do it,” he said.
The lieutenant explains how companies will not rush their customers to take any action, nor ask them to send money by a shipping company.
“A legitimate business is never going to call you and say you’ve got to take care of this right now. You have to do it by this means of payment. That’s not how businesses work,” McGinn noted.
1 In 3 Scammers Impersonates Amazon
The latest Amazon scam comes as the Federal Trade Commission reported 96,000 people were targeted between July 2020 and June 2021, resulting in losses of more than $27million.
Nearly one in three people reporting a business impersonator phishing scam say the scammer claimed to be from Amazon.
Another scam masquerading as the popular retailer involves victims receiving phone calls from so-called Amazon employees alerting them of ‘suspicious activity.’
Then, the phishers claim that they need remote access to the victim’s device to install a ‘security card,’ which the victim has to purchase in the form of a gift card.
The attackers follow up with victims, claiming they need additional gift cards and that Amazon will refund the purchases.
Well after they’ve purchased hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of gift cards, victims realize they’ve been scammed when it’s too late.
It’s Phishing Season – Scammers Are Preying On Your Trust
Ways to avoid being scammed include:
- Be aware of your emails
- Type out the website name instead of clicking a link
- Do not make purchases on public wifi
- Have antivirus software
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card
“Cybersecurity is behind the times when it comes to these scams. We simply are not able to track them,” said FGCU Law Professor Pamella Seay.
But Seay suggested that people should still contact the police, the Secret Service, and the FBI if they are scammed.
“It will allow them to investigate,” she said. “There may be others. It may be part of a larger scheme. It might not just be you.”
ATTACK Simulator To The Rescue
Don’t let the phishing season catch you off guard. Phishing can have disastrous consequences, especially for businesses. Keep the bad guys at bay by teaching your employees the best online security practices.
To have complete protection against all kinds of phishing scams, you need security awareness training in your company to keep your employees from falling victims to fraud.
Cybersecurity awareness is a crucial factor in protecting your data and devices. It would be best if you learned to spot potential phishing attacks, software that looks suspicious and can be malicious, and other threats. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you enrich your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge with up-to-date security best practices to keep your company safe from scammers and avoid potentially irreparable damage.