UK householders are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of scam phone calls from someone claiming to be from Amazon.
The scams have been reported widely throughout the country and one woman in Northern Ireland was defrauded of £25,000 after the heartless crooks emptied her bank account.
Victims have reported receiving a call from someone pretending to be from Amazon, claiming their Amazon Prime subscription is due to expire and will be automatically taken from their account.
The call then states they can press 1 to cancel or speak to an advisor. If they press 1, they will be put through to an operator who will ask them to provide their financial details or allow them remote access to their computer to get their account back up and running. Of course, this all just a ruse to gain access to their account and clean them out of cash.
Amazon has warned customers not to give out any personal information or take action on their account in response to an unexpected call.
“We take phishing and spoofing attempts 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, check the Amazon.co.uk help pages for advice.”
A recent report from BICS, revealed the UK is the world’s biggest target for phone scams, with 15% of the world’s fraudulent telecoms traffic directed at British numbers. This equates to a total of 25 million scam calls made during 2018.
The report also added that the total number of global scam calls has increased by 2%, with telecoms fraud causing losses of $30 billion worldwide.
Telephone scams have become a lucrative business and the tactics that criminals are using to defraud victims have become increasingly slick and sophisticated.
Like all scams, the fraudsters will create a sense of urgency to pressurise the victim into taking immediate action. They may tell you to “act fast to resolve the situation” or “we want to get this sorted for you as quickly as possible”.
One of the main ways they will make the call appear genuine is by using a tactic known as ‘number spoofing’. Using sophisticated technology, the fraudsters can alter the phone number from which they are calling so that it matches the official telephone number of an organisation you know and trust.
Another tactic is to play background noise, so it sounds like the call is being made from a call centre or a busy office environment.
How to avoid being scammed
- Be wary of phone calls from unknown numbers – If a call comes out of the blue from a number you’re not familiar with, treat the call as suspicious.
- Never give out personal information over the phone – Legitimate organisations will never ask you to give out personal information such as a password, pin, activation codes or bank account details over the phone.
- Hang up – If you’re feeling intimidated or harassed by a call then don’t be afraid to hang up immediately.
- Ring the organisation directly – If you think the phone call is a scam then hang up the phone and ring the organisation directly. Source the official number yourself and never call back using the number the caller has given you.
- Call blocking device – If you’re receiving lots of calls from unknown numbers, it may be wise to invest in a call blocking device to filter out unwanted calls.
If you believe you are the victim of fraud, contact your local police station or Action Fraud on 0300 123 040.
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