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SPAR – Cybersecurity Scam of the Week – Amazon Impersonators: What You Need To Know

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Has Amazon contacted you to confirm a recent purchase you didn’t make or to tell you that your account has been hacked? According to the FTC, about one in three people who have reported a business impersonator scam say the scammer pretended to be Amazon.

These scams can look a few different ways. In one version, scammers offer to “refund” you for an unauthorized purchase but “accidentally transfer” more than promised. They then ask you to send back the difference. What really happens? The scammer moves your own money from one of your bank accounts to the other (like your Savings to Checkings, or vice versa) to make it look like you were refunded. Any money you send back to “Amazon” is your money (not an overpayment) — and as soon as you send it out of your account, it becomes theirs. In another version of the scam, you’re told that hackers have gotten access to your account — and the only way to supposedly protect it is to buy gift cards and share the gift card number and PIN on the back. Once that information is theirs, the money is, too.

Here are some ways to avoid an Amazon impersonator scam:

  • Never call back an unknown number. Use the information on Amazon’s website and not a number listed in an unexpected email or text.
  • Don’t pay for anything with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts. If anyone asks you to pay with a gift card – or buy gift cards for anything other than a gift, it’s a scam.
  • Don’t give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This gives scammers easy access to your personal and financial information—like access to your bank accounts.

What else has been reported to abuse@uthsc.edu this past week?

  • [Ext] Invoice Generated Successfully ZTL2021WVS – just another version of the Norton auto-renewal scam, telling the recipient they have to call a phone number to get the charge removed
  • [Ext] **NetID** Review your fax document – an e-fax message that looks like it came from Microsoft, but from a bogus, or compromised, email address
  • [Ext] Order Confirmation – another variation of the Norton scam
  • [Ext] **Name of Recipient** – a Dean’s name was spoofed asking the recipient for a favor, but the email address was a @gmail.com one

Keep reporting suspicious emails to abuse@uthsc.edu for examination and any other inquiries for the Office of Cybersecurity should be directed to itsecurity@uthsc.edu.

#BeCyberSmart