Police are warning about an Amazon Prime scam which has cost victims more than £1 million in three months

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 10:49 am
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 10:50 am

by Jamie McKenzie

Police have issued a warning to the public about an Amazon Prime scam which has cost victims more than £1 million in three months.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) identified 571 reports of Amazon Prime-related computer software service fraud, between 1 October last year and 16 January 2020.

‼️ AMAZON SCAM ‼️ Always question uninvited approaches. Contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. Never install software or visit a website as a result of a cold call. https://t.co/ai9bkXcVd6

— Edinburgh Police (@EdinburghPolice) February 12, 2020

One victim, a man from Glasgow in his 60s, lost more than £65,000.

How the scam works

The scam involves victims receiving an automated call informing them they have been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription. They are then instructed to 'press one' to cancel this transaction. However, when they do this, they are directed to a fraudster posing as an Amazon customer service representative.

The scammer advises the victim that their subscription was purchased fraudulently and that remote access to their computer is required in order to fix a security flaw that will prevent it from reoccurring.

The victim is then asked to download a remote access application, often the ‘Team Viewer’ app, which grants the fraudster access to their computer. The Team Viewer software is then misused by the criminal to monitor the victim logging onto their online bank account, which allows the criminal to see the victim’s personal and financial details.

Other variants of the crime involve fraudsters stating that the recipient is eligible for a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.

Take these steps to protect yourself

The following advice is given by Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.

Personal information

Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.

Stay in control

Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s fine to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.

Remote access

Never install any software or visit a website as a result of a cold call. Unsolicited requests for remote access to your computer should always raise a red flag.

Remember, if you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Police warning

The Edinburgh Police official twitter account is among those who have shared the scam warning.

In a tweet alongside the Action Fraud advice, they say, "Always question uninvited approaches. Contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. Never install software or visit a website as a result of a cold call."

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman