Amazon Imposter Robocalls Reaching 150 Million Per Month
A new threat advisory has been issued warning that Americans are consistently receiving between 100 million and 150 million robocalls per month from fraudsters claiming to be with Amazon. These scammers trick consumers into believing that suspicious activities have been identified on their Amazon accounts.
These Voice Phishing (“Vishing”) robocalls normally urge recipients to “Press One” to engage with a service representative and take off the phony charges, often in the amounts of $729 or $1,499. However, these calls are not coming from Amazon representatives. They are made by imposters who are really identity thieves seeking to take over the bank accounts of victims and steal their cash.
These are not just harmless nuisance calls. For instance, Amazon imposters recently defrauded a senior citizen in Stockton, Calif., by claiming that $400 had been hacked from her account. The scammers lured the woman into giving away her banking credentials, before they withdrew $40,000 from her bank account and maxed out her five credit cards, according to a police report.
That stolen $40,000 could provide enough money to fund an entire robocall scam operation for 100 million more robocalls, ensuring that every ensuing scam that succeeds would return pure profits, according to Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail.
“We recommend that consumers do not answer or respond to any calls claiming to be Amazon because the odds are now overwhelming that it will be a scam,” Quilici said. “In the current climate, consumers simply can’t trust that any calls claiming to be from Amazon are actually from Amazon.”
The volume of these calls has increased dramatically over the past 90 days, putting more and more Americans at risk of being scammed. Here are some examples of the types of grammatically incorrect Amazon scams identified by YouMail’s threat investigators:
- On your account which is billed on your card attached to your Amazon account. The amount charged is $1499. We noticed some suspicious activity on your account. So we have put on hold to this transaction. Please press one now and to report please press two. Thank you.
- We strongly recommend please do not access your account on your device for security reasons until your account will not get fixed. For more support speak to our Amazon support team. Press one.
- Your customer this is Molly from Amazon. We received one suspicious incoming charge of $729 and your Amazon account from Dayton Ohio for dispute on this charge press one to connect with our Amazon customer care representative. Thank you
Historically, whenever robocall volumes increase from under 10 million calls/month to as many as 150 million calls/month, it is because the scammers are having significant success and are scaling up their operations by adding more call center staff, or by reinvesting some of their earnings to grow their businesses. Finally, as the scams work, we find that more and more copycats set up shop with similar scams, or the scammers start attacking other brands.
So long as these widespread scam attacks continue to succeed, they will keep getting worse. In turn, consumers will not only be scammed at an increasing rate, but they will ultimately come to distrust and ignore all communications from those trusted brands.