Fake Apple/Amazon Support Calls

I even have a couple of them recorded. Read on and listen…

It happens every holiday season. Some creeps take advantage of the uptick in online purchases and try to rip off consumers by pretending to be either a legitimate retailer or a tech support agent.

This holiday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has alerted consumer advocates like me to two phone scams. One is a recorded message claiming to be from Amazon. It says there’s something wrong with your account or a suspicious package has been billed to it. The other claims there’s been some hanky-panky with your Apple iCloud account.

I can play the recordings for you. The FTC captured them and shared them here.

In both scenarios, the scammers say you can conveniently press 1 to speak with someone,” wrote FTC Consumer Education Specialist Alvaro Puig in that news alert. “Or they give you a phone number to call. Don’t do either. It’s a scam. They’re trying to steal your personal information, like your account password or your credit card number.”

The scam is similar to another one I exposed with the help of #WiseChoice Cooper Systems. That one is a live call. The scammer poses as a Microsoft, Yahoo! or other tech support agent. He claims to have detected something wrong with your computer, then tries to lure you into giving up access to it.

“They would talk people into downloading software to allow them to remotely access their computer,” said Lee Cooper, owner of Cooper Systems. “The impostor would then claim the consumer’s computer is riddled with thousands of viruses and for a certain fee, the computer viruses could be removed. Then the impostor would try to sell 3-year computer support packages for thousands of dollars.  If the customer says no, these hackers completely lock up the computer.”

In both the Amazon and Apple scams, if you respond, the scammer will ask for your credit card number, bank information or Social Security number — something to access your money. “If you do become a victim to these types of scams, the minute you realize it, change every password to every account and call your bank and credit card company,” Cooper said.

Please: do NOT answer calls from numbers you do not recognize on your caller ID. Remember this: neither Apple nor Amazon will ever initiate a phone call to you. Ever.

“If you get an unexpected call or message about a problem with any of your accounts, hang up,” said Puig. “Do not press 1. Do not call a phone number they gave you, and do not give out your personal information.”

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