COLUMBUS (WCMH) — “Amazon: Congratulations Jenn, you came in 3rd in today’s amazon pods raffle!”
That celebratory text message came to my personal cell phone, and all I had to do is click on this suspicious link to claim my prize.
Instead, I called Jessica Kapcar with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, who said it’s not what it seems.
“It’s unfortunate, but we are seeing a lot of that across North America and in Central Ohio, as well,” said Kapcar. “Scams involving Amazon being impersonated.”
In 2020 alone, Kapcar said the BBB received 771 reports of scams impersonating Amazon — the second most-impostered brand, after the Social Security Administration.
“One of the reports we saw was, they were only being charged for the shipping of the item. It’s usually a minimal amount, just enough to think, ‘Oh! What a deal I’m getting!’ But what we’ve also seen is then, they’re either charged in full for those AirPods after a certain amount of time, or the information was compromised,” said Kapcar.
Which is why, Kapcar says, if you receive a message like I did, don’t click on any links. In fact, it’s better not to respond at all.
“That’s how scammers know that that is a legitimate phone number and then they typically turn around and sell it to the entire world,” said Kapcar. “And that’s when we see a larger influx of scam text messages coming into phone numbers.”
To be sure it’s a legitimate message or offer, go to the source yourself. Visit the company’s website or call customer support and ask a representative.
“So, just asking for the validity of those text messages or emails is a great way to avoid those scams as well.”
In mid-May, Amazon announced that it filed a federal lawsuit against 50 unnamed individuals for fraudulently using the company’s brand, logo and web design to unlawfully make a profit.
In response to the lawsuit, Amazon’s Vice President of Business Conduct and Ethics said, “These bad actors are misusing our brand to deceive the public and we will hold them accountable.”
You can read the entire statement, as well as details about the lawsuit by clicking here.