Gephardt: How Fake Amazon Reps Can See Your Bank Account
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The pandemic forced Amazon to delay its biggest annual sale event this year, but Prime Day is now set to happen next week.
Many Amazon shoppers are already preparing for the big sale, and so are the fraudsters. A Utah woman recently got caught up in a twist on the tech support scam when her internet search on how to return items on Amazon led to thieves getting access to her bank account.
Mandi Durocher bought candles off Amazon that went unused for her wedding. She had never returned anything to Amazon before.
“I just ‘Googled’ Amazon customer service and the number that came up, it had a number and it said Amazon next to it and just a little call button. So, I called it,” Durocher said.
Once connected, she was instructed to download an app that would allow the rep on the phone to see her phone.
“’I’m going to get into your Amazon account with you, and we’re going to go through this together,’” Durocher said the man told him.
Durocher didn’t see the harm — she had given remote access before with IT guys. But it turned out there was harm because by sharing her screen, the guy on the phone was able to see her banking information. Durocher quickly realized something was wrong, called her bank and confirmed someone had been making changes.
“’We see two purchases for $100 each for Amazon gift cards and there is a third one processing for $200 right now,’” Durocher said about the conversation with her bank. “I said, ‘Stop it! Stop it! Freeze right now!’”
The KSL Investigators tried the same number she called, and someone answered. We identified ourselves and the scammer hung up. We called back and left this voice mail.
“I believe that you’re a scammer who’s ripping people off pretending to be Amazon, and I want to get your side of the story,” KSL’s Matt Gephardt said.
Amazon told KSL-TV they “launched an investigation” into Durocher’s case. In a statement, spokesperson Leah Seay said Amazon “never asks customers to download software onto their mobile devices when they contact customer service.”
As for Durocher, she’s out about $200. But she’s grateful it wasn’t more.
Amazon said they discourage customers from trying to find their telephone number on search engines, like Google, specifically because of this type of scam. Instead, go to the “Contact Us” link in your Amazon account if you need help.
Victims were also encouraged to call the police, but with most of these criminals operating overseas, it is unlikely victims will get their money back.