Consumers are Being Warned as Amazon and Vaccine Phone Scams Become More Common
The Coronavirus pandemic has sparked worldwide concern and has been declared a national emergency in the United States. We should expect to see more COVID-19 scams as the situation worsens, as cybercriminals prey on fear.
Amazon Robocall Scam
When you pick up the phone, be cautious — consumer watchdogs are alert about two new pandemic-era schemes attempting to defraud people out of their money.
According to WSAW-TV, one of the most recent scams involves people receiving “relentless” phone calls from a robocall purporting to be from Amazon.
The call recording informs customers that a fraudulent or suspicious payment has been made to their Amazon account and instructs them to dial a number to speak with an “Amazon customer service representative” about disputing the charge.
According to WSAW-TV, Amazon scams were among the top three complaints to the Consumer Protection Hotline in Wisconsin for the month of March. The new phone scam comes as the pandemic forces more people to shop online.
Statement of the Government
Lara Sutherlin, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Division of Consumer Protection, said the division saw an increase in fraud involving fraudulent Amazon transactions.
Amazon seems to be crucial to everyone’s life these days. However, she advised that if you’re worried about fraudulent charges on your Amazon account, you should call the correct number.
She also cautioned customers to be wary of scammers who may try to take advantage of the vaccine rollout. People were calling customers, claiming to be from Pfizer, Moderna, or Astra-Zeneca, and attempting to persuade them to take a post-vaccine survey in exchange for a reward, she said.
The buyer is required to pay for delivery when it comes to the prize. Sutherlin stated that there should be no money involved for surveys related to the vaccine or to get a slot. Anytime there is money involved, a credit card, a gift card – it is more likely a scam.
Receiving unwelcome phone calls and text messages is inconvenient. Moreover, it may be illegal.
Options for Dealing with Robocalls
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States urges actual phone users not to respond to calls and voicemails claiming to be from Amazon.
The FTC is also alert about recorded messages purporting from the government, asking people for vaccine slot fees, or COVID-19 surveys.
Of course, in this form of a phone scam, fraudsters typically use the names of well-known companies to enhance the legitimacy of the messages and compel users to take action.
Both variations of the scam aim to get you to give up Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as your account password or credit card number, so that fraudsters can steal your identity.
In 1991, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to protect customers from telemarketers and other forms of solicitors.
Consumers’ privileges under the TCPA are limited to some forms of calls and other messages. Consumers who have their rights violated will be entitled to recover between $500 and $1,500 per call or text message.
You might have a claim against a corporation for breaching the TCPA if you received a telemarketing call, a prerecorded letter, or a text message from them without your permission.
Editor’s Note on Pandemic’s Latest Scams: Amazon & Vaccine Scam Phone Calls:
This article is published to inform you of the scams circulating online and on the phone during the pandemic.
Have you been the victim of a phone scam in the last 12 months? Let us know what you think by clicking the ‘Contact Us’ button below.
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