Criminals are using Amazon Prime subscriptions to try to tempt you into handing over sensitive information – allowing them to drain your bank account.
First up, you’ll receive a phone call informing you that you’ve been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription. Amazon has already taken a £39 payment from your bank account for the subscription, you’re told.
However, the pre-recorded call continues, if you’d like to stop the automatic renewal of your Prime membership, you’re able to stop the process by pressing “1” on your numeric keypad. If you decide to hit this button, the pre-recorded message will end and you’ll be pushed through to a scam artist.
Posing as a customer service operative, you’ll likely be told that the Amazon Prime subscription was probably set-up fraudulently – since you didn’t authorise them withdrawing the £39 payment from your account. However, to assess whether it’s actually you on the line, the operative (and professional scammer) will need to remotely access your computer to improve security settings, or some such pitiful excuse.
This is actually to find financial information stored on your machine. Other variants will outright ask for your bank account details.
As soon as you’re connected to the scam artist, you will be charged for a call to a premium rate number. So, even if you don’t fall for the trick and hand over your private information to the caller, the scam will still cost you money. Although, hopefully, not quite as much money as handing over your details.
When you get to this stage in the call, this latest Amazon Prime subscription scam boils down to exactly the same technique as a slew of other scam calls.
People have previously posed as the law enforcement, broadband providers, Microsoft engineers to help service your Windows 10 machine, or government departments – all under the pretence of gaining access to your computer.
This type of scam has cost UK callers £37million in the first of last year alone, figures from UK Finance have revealed.
And according to The Guardian, one elderly victim was last month defrauded out of £25,000 as a result of this Amazon Prime subscription scam call.
Victims of the scam have flocked to social media to warn others about the malicious calls. Writing on Facebook, Dave Davies of Cheshire, explained: “Just had a call on my land-line telling me my bank account has been hacked and I am now paying into an Amazon Prime account through direct debit and to cancel the payment to press 1 on the keyboard. I immediately hung up and checked my account online to see if said transaction had been processed to confirm that it had not, so definitely a SCAM. Be careful out there!”
Another potential victim asked users on Twitter, “Anyone else had a phone call from Amazon saying about renewing their Prime service? I’m assuming it’s a scam.”
One individual replied: “It’s a scam and an expensive one at that.”
Amazon warns customers to never take any action on their accounts as a result of an unsolicited call. It’s also worth noting that Amazon Prime now costs £79 a year, so any calls that quote the incorrect figure are clearly scams.
“If you receive a suspicious phone call claiming to be from Amazon and asking for payment or offering a refund you do not expect, please do not share any personal information, and disconnect immediately,” Amazon states.
If you are concerned about any unexpected transitions or payments from Amazon, it’s worth logging into their online help portal to try and resolve it – rather than talk to anyone who claims to be from the company who calls you to resolve the issue. You can find details of how to contact Amazon here.