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Warning as victims lose £1m in Amazon Prime scam

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
28/01/2020
Hundreds of people have fallen victim to an Amazon Prime scam which has seen them collectively lose over £1m in just three months.

Victims receive an automated call telling them they’ve been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription or that they’re eligible for a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.

As customers try to cancel the transaction, they’re put through to the scammer who is posing as an Amazon customer service representative. The victim is told that as the subscription was purchased fraudulently, remote access is needed to the computer to fix a security flaw.

They’re asked to download an app, often ‘Team Viewer’ where they then monitor the victim’s activity via their online banking, allowing them to see their personal and financial details.

One victim, a man in his 60s from Glasgow, has lost over £65,000. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received 571 reports of the Amazon Prime fraud between 1 October 2019 and 16 January 2020.

In total, Amazon Prime victims have lost over £1m.

An Amazon spokesperson, said: “We take phishing and spoofing attempts on our customers seriously, and will never call a customer for payment outside of our website. If a customer has concerns or receives a call they believe is not from Amazon, they can check the Amazon UK help pages for guidance using the following link – https://amzn.to/2kQC5I0.”

How to protect yourself from fraud

Action Fraud gives the following tips to help users avoid falling victim to a scam:

Personal information

Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.

Stay in control

Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s fine to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.

Remote access

Never install any software or visit a website as a result of a cold call. Unsolicited requests for remote access to your computer should always raise a red flag.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040.

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