We all are now hopefully familiar with the term ‘phishing’, if we aren’t quite sure how to spot emails that are looking to capture our personal and financial data to use for nefarious purposes. However, with rapid advancements in technology, the practice of phishing by phone, or ‘Vishing’ is becoming more of a concern for the authorities and brand holders.
Action Fraud, the UK organisation that provides advice to consumers and businesses about measures they can take to avoid fraud has received more than 200 reports in the last three months specifically about one tactic being used by fraudsters, claiming to be calling from Amazon Prime.
Victims have reported receiving automated calls which tells them they have signed up for an Amazon Prime subscription and they need to confirm the service. They are given an option to speak to a member of the (bogus) Prime team by pressing a number on their phones.
After a series of “security” checks, where personal details are harvested by the scammers, the victims are told they need to download a bogus copy of the popular screen sharing software Team Viewer. This then gives the criminals access to their machines. In many cases they are then asked to log onto their online bank to check for any Amazon prime payments, whilst the fraudsters are capturing the login details to use later. Action Fraud have reported that over £400,000 has been lost through this approach since September, with approximately 300 others reporting receiving the calls but not being so easily fooled. And that will just be the tip of the iceberg and many similar crimes will go unreported.
Amazon take the issue of potential scams and fraud very seriously and if you are ever in doubt that an email, phone call or text message is from them, you are able to check the validity of the communication here. They have also produced a helpful video that explains some of the more common attempts to defraud.
At this time of year our guards can often be unavoidably down with the chaos of Christmas and the stresses of the enforced-restrictions due to COVID-19. The scammers know that and are using the situation to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.
If you are unsure of any approaches via email, text or phone, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or reporting it online here. Remember, if something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.