5 On Your Side

Scammers target Amazon, Apple customers with emails, calls

Posted February 17, 2021 6:18 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2021 6:31 p.m. EST

So many of us get Amazon deliveries these days, we’d think an email or even call from the company is possible. But still, it would catch us off guard.

That’s how scammers succeed. Add a level of familiar detail that builds their story, and many people fall for it.

At a quick glance, the email that popped into Jay Jennings inbox from "Amazon" seemed legitimate.

"So I called the number, and a guy picks up and, you know, he starts, he starts ‘helping’ me," says Jennings, who is also WRAL’s Documentary photographer.

Jennings can’t believe he fell for the latest version of a scam he’s heard so many times before.

"It was the way he built my trust," he said. The man on the phone was customer friendly, really wanted to help and gave details.

The scammer told Jennings, "You can’t see this on your end, but we can see it on the Amazon side, there have been several attempted purchases of your account, but we have stopped them because they were in places where, where you don’t live."

Jennings says the caller continued to build trust with a startling message.

"All of a sudden I get a text saying, ‘Somebody is trying to change your password,’" Jennings said.

"I said to him, ‘Oh, somebody’s starting to change my password right now.’ And he goes, ‘Relax, that’s me. That’s me. We’re just trying to confirm everything.’"

The man on the phone told Jennings that "because of the level of fraud that’s involved" Amazon needed what he called "a physical verification."

He told Jennings to go buy an Amazon gift card at a local store, saying Amazon would refund him.

"You know, I should have known this point, but I didn’t," said Jennings. "So I’m off to Target to buy this card."

Another scam targeting Amazon customers and making the rounds involves a phone call. "We are calling you from Amazon. This is a confirmation call regarding your recent order," a computer-generated voice recording says.

Multiple 5 On Your Side viewers emailed about phone calls they received, supposedly requiring "purchase verification." The goal of the scam is to get you to call back.

The FTC recently warned about the calls and similar ones supposedly from Apple. They’re scams to get passwords and credit card numbers.

As for Jennings, "I get about a block and a half from the house and I realized … this is way kooky," he said. "It started to really stink. I was thinking 90 to 95% it’s a scam."

He Googled the situation and contacted Amazon through their app.

"I guess there was a little part of me that wondered, will that guy say, ”Oh, that’s one of our guys’ when I described what was going on," said Jennings, adding, "We watch 5 On Your Side. We know what’s going on. We know that this type of stuff is out there. I mean, I was close. He had me on the line. He was reeling me into the boat. But this fish got off the line."

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