Man loses nearly $6K to Amazon impostor; here's how to avoid Prime Day scams

ByMichael Finney and Renee Koury via KGO logo
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
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Another Amazon Prime Days event begins Tuesday, October 11 - and as consumers hunt for good deals, scammers are hunting for your money.

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. (KGO) -- Another Amazon Prime Day event begins Tuesday, Oct. 11 - and as consumers hunt for good deals, scammers are hunting for your money.

Security experts say hundreds of websites with names similar to Amazon popped up during Prime Day in July. Many of them are fake.

One viewer was convinced he was really talking to an Amazon employee. Instead, scammers were draining his bank account. It all started when he bought a little something -- for his dogs.

Manuel Chavez of San Juan Bautista had just purchased scooper bags on Amazon

"I had ordered some doggie poop bags and they were $28.13," Chavez said. "As soon as I finished paying it, a message came up on my phone, and it was from Amazon telling me I had suspicious activity going on."

The message said his Amazon account was suspended. He had to call a number to get it back.

RELATED: How you could lose money if you respond to a call claiming to be from Amazon about an order

"So now I'm worried, 'Oh here goes my account," he said.

So Chavez called the number. The man on the other end of the line said Amazon would refund the money he'd just paid for the doggie bags and create a new account.

"So I'm thinking I'm being refunded, what the heck, it's not gonna hurt me," Chavez said. "I thought it was an Amazon employee. I really did."

But it wasn't.

The man used an app to take remote control of Chavez's phone.

The man said he was refunding the $28.13 for the doggie bags, but claimed the system did not accept the decimal point.

WATCH: Bay Area man can't stop unwanted Amazon packages from coming in 'brushing scam'

So instead of a refund, the man took $2,813 out of Chavez's bank account.

And he did it twice -- once through Venmo, once through Zelle.

"Altogether it was $5,626," Chavez said.

According to cyber security firm Check Point, Amazon related scams shot up 37% around the Prime Day in July.

The Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers to be on guard as another Amazon sale begins Tuesday.

"On Prime Days, phishing scams are more prevalent," says Celia Surridge of the BBB.

RELATED: Got a package you didn't order? It could be a scam

The BBB recommends consumers be wary of offers for special deals, or alerts about your account.

They may not really be from Amazon.

Experts also warn not to click links from unknown sources.

They also say not to call phone numbers in pop-ups or emails, and not to provide personal information in order to get a deal.

Never allow anyone you don't know personally to take remote control of your phone or computer. Amazon would never ask to control your devices.

Instead, go directly to Amazon.com, and check your account and orders there.

RELATED: Your browser's autofill could hand your private info over to scammers, security experts warn

You can click customer support and ask whether a message is legit, or fake.

"Those guys are really good, they know how to manipulate you," said Chavez.

7 On Your Side helped Chavez get his money back after pointing out someone took over his phone and he didn't authorize the transactions. Amazon has a whole security section where you can ask whether an alert or a deal is legit and report fraud.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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