CT BBB Scam Alert: Hacked Account, Stolen Card

CROMWELL, CT — Want some advice about scams? Stay calm. Con artists use that feeling of alarm to trick victims to acting before they can think. BBB Scam Tracker is seeing reports of a con that claims that your Amazon, PayPal, or other account has been compromised. Scammers hope you’ll panic and fall for their scheme.
How the scam works
You receive an email, call, or text message informing you there’s been suspicious activity in your bank or another account, such as Amazon, Netflix, or PayPal. You need to take immediate action to prevent your account from being compromised or to avoid being charged for a fraudulent purchase. Don’t fall for it!
The email version of this con uses the company’s logo, colors, and language to make the message look just like an official alert. In some examples, the emails are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. A link in the message leads to website that asks for your account number, login, and password information. If you share this information, you give scammers access to that account—as well as anywhere else you use the same password. 
In the phone version, the caller claims to have noticed an expensive charge, which you didn’t make, on your account. Some victims told BBB Scam Tracker that the caller pushed them to download phony “security software.” This is really malware, which gave scammers access to sensitive information, such as passwords.
In other versions, the caller insists you need to buy pre-paid gift or debit cards in order to reverse the fraudulent charges and secure your account. One victim told BBB Scam Tracker that they received a call from the ”Amazon verification department.” After noticing fraudulent purchases, Amazon allegedly put a hold on their account. In order to lift the hold, the scam caller convinced the victim “to buy $200 of Google Play cards. This was needed to use the codes to cancel the orders. [The scammer] said I needed to do it right away; the account could only be on hold for a short time.”
How to avoid “compromised account” scams:
  • Be extra cautious with unsolicited calls, emails, and texts. Don’t be quick to believe claims from unsolicited communications.
  • Want to check on your account status? Go directly to the website. Don’t click on links in suspicious emails. Instead, go directly to the website in question and log into your account. Or look up the company’s official phone number (check your bill or welcome email) and call them to confirm that there really is a case of suspicious activity associated with your account.
  • Understand how businesses handle communications. If you know how disputes and suspicious activity is handled, it will be easier to spot a scam. For example, PayPal clearly states that they will never send you an email asking for your password or to download attachments or software.
  • Don’t panic and don’t feel intimidated. Scammers want you to panic. They may use intimidation tactics to pressure you into acting before you have time to think. Stay calm and think things through. Legitimate businesses will not intimidate you in this way.
  • Never give your personal information to strangers. If you aren’t speaking or corresponding with someone you know and trust, don’t give them sensitive information. 
For more information
Read more about scams impersonating Amazon and how to protect yourself from phishing cons.
If you’ve been the victim of this or a similar scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help educate other consumers by raising awareness of scammers’ tactics.
Amazon, Netflix, and Paypal are BBB Accredited Businesses.


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