Amazon Prime scam warning: 'Only way' to prevent fraud effectively – how to reduce risk
Scammers can be incredibly convincing, with the impact on victims not only being emotional, but sadly financial too. In recent months, fraudsters have posed as Amazon Prime team members in an effort to scam victims out of money.
In January this year, Action Fraud warned about numerous reports of this worrying form of scam.
Between October 1, 2019 and January 16, 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) identified 571 reports of Amazon Prime-related Computer Software Service Fraud.
The scam involves victims receiving an automated call, during which they’re told that they have been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription.
They are then subsequently instructed to “press one” to cancel the transaction, and when they do this, they are directed to a fraudsters posing as an Amazon customer service representative.
Amazon Prime scam warning: Reducing the risk of falling victim to fraud will be a priority for many
Then, Action Fraud has said, fraudsters are advising victims that their so-called subscription was purchased fraudulently and that remote access to their computer is requrired in order to fix a security flaw to prevent the supposed issue from reoccurring.
Then, victims are asked to download a remote access application, often the “Team Viewer” app, which grants the fraudster access to their computer – with the software then being mis-used by the criminal to monitor the victim logging onto their online bank account.
There are other variants of the crime, such as one involving fraudsters stating that the recipient is eligible for a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.
Following reports of the worrying scam tactic, Esther Heide, Community Manager at TeamViewer, has shared some top tips which members of the public may want to be aware of in a bid to reduce the risk.
“By combining new technology with old tricks, and through sophisticated social engineering approaches, fraudsters can easily mislead even the cleverest of people,” she said.
“Convincing them to part ways with their money, data and give out personal information. But there are ways you can protect yourself and make sure you have the tools in place to identify and prevent fraudsters.”
So, what are the practical tips which Ms Heide suggests?
Entrust data with the trusted people
“Knowing who to entrust your personal data with, is a key step towards data protection.
“Before granting anyone access to your devices or data, you need to ensure that they are verifiably trust-worthy, for example people within your trusted circle.”
“Do not download any software or apps when prompted to do so by phone, email or text message (unless you can confidently verify the source).
“Treat your data with the same vigilance you would treat the keys to your home. Do not divulge your passwords to strangers, no matter how convincing they may be.”
Do not let yourself be cornered
“If you feel you are being coerced to download a certain software, or to reveal your password or certain private information, simply hang up and turn off your phone.
Amazon Prime scam warning: Falling victim to a scam can not only impact emotionally but financially too
“This gives you time to reflect and verify the identity of the caller.”
No responsible company will ask for your bank details via phone or email
“It is no surprise that fraudsters often pose as employees of well-known brands to trick you into downloading software that will help solve a problem.
“They will, for example, tell you that they need you to download the software, so that they can help you cancel a payment. What they are in fact doing is gaining access to your bank details, leading to data or property theft.
“When faced with such requests, hang up or forward the email to verified customer services immediately.”
Build a security fortress around your devices
“You can also protect your data by using existing security measures to prevent malicious actors. At TeamViewer, for example, we are continually developing and improving ways to minimise the number of fraud and scams taking place.
“We encourage private users to download the current version of our software only from our website, and to pay close attention to pop-ups notifying them about the legitimacy of ongoing connections.
“With functionalities such as two-factor authentication, whitelisting, trusted devices, you are able to set up a very secure TeamViewer account.”
Report the breach
“If you are targeted by fraudsters do not hesitate to contact the police. In addition to this, if you are concerned that fraudsters may have gained access to your financial information, immediately reach out to your bank or building society to report the fraudulent activity.
“Furthermore, if the fraudsters contacted you under the guise of a particular company or brand, report this to the company via their customer service team or online portal. They will be able to support you and give advice needed to move forward.
Take ownership over your data security
“As fraudsters become more sophisticated, it is vital that you continue to educate yourself, update your security tools and take the appropriate measures to keep you, and your data safe.
“In the same vein, in order to address the challenge of the scamming issues, it is the responsibility of companies to come together to collaborate on the best solutions for minimising the risk of fraud — educating consumers on best practice, prevalent threats and new tools.
“This is the only way we can prevent fraud effectively. Therefore, consumers and industry players need to join forces to help protect people’s data and keep them out of the claws of fraudsters.”
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