COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Thousands of Ohioans are out of a job during this pandemic, but scammers are always at work, coming up with new ways to cheat people out of their money.
The Better Business Bureau said scammers are now calling people, under the guise of Amazon, with the intention of ripping them off.
The scammers often appear friendly and helpful, like in the case of Teresa Hatzer. She got a call from an unknown number in early December.
“Said that he was from Amazon and noticed what he thought was fraudulent activity on my account,” Hatzer said.
The “representative” said someone was trying to buy an iPhone 11 for more than $1,400 dollars with Hatzer’s credit card number, a purchase she did not approve.
Concerned, Hatzer logged on to see it for herself.
“I immediately got on my computer and started looking,” she said. “I looked at my Amazon account; there didn’t appear to be anything on there. I looked on my bank account, there didn’t appear to be anything on there.”
Now suspicious, Hatzer started asking questions.
“I asked him for the last four digits of my credit card, and he said, ‘Well, Amazon doesn’t allow us to have that information.'”
So, Hatzer kept digging, and asked for a call back number. But when she didn’t get any answers, she hung up.
“After I got off the phone with them, I called Amazon right away just to check myself even, and just to make sure,” she said.
According to Amazon, there were no issues with Hatzer’s account. So, she reported what she believed to be a scam, and left it at that… until it happened again the very next day.
“It was a female this time and she said she was from Amazon, and the same thing, that there was fraudulant activity on my Amazon account for an iPhone 11 for $1,499,” Hatzer said. “If I didn’t fall for it once, I definitely wasn’t falling for it the second time.”
And what the scammers didn’t know is who they were talking to.
“I am a deputy sheriff,” Hatzer said.
Because of her experience, Hatzer spotted the red flags early on, including the scammers’ urgency.
“They didn’t want to give you time to think about what you were doing,” she said. “He was trying to rush me into doing it.”
Kip Morse with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio said scammers want victims to feel pressured into giving personal information or money.
“They’re trying to operate under fear,” Morse said. “Get away from the fear and go over to your account, and go directly to your account and see whether they’re notifying you through that account.”
Morse said Hatzer did things the right way: Not clicking on any links, not providing any personal information, and turning the situation around on the scammer.
“I just want people to be real careful out there because it’s bad, real bad,” Hatzer said.