GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – A new twist on an old scam is posing a serious threat to your private information.
This time the scammers are pretending to be with Amazon Prime — offering a refund and even assistance getting it on your computer.
Betty Evans in Greenville said she got a call from someone claiming to be with the retail giant, offering a refund on her Prime membership.
“They were telling me how to go in my computer, cause I’m not really good with computers anyway,” Evans said.
She said they offered assistance logging in to help her get her money back.
“When they went into my computer, you could see Amazon Prime on the paperwork,” Evans said.
Kevin Hodges, an IT expert with USC Upstate, said in this imposter scam the hackers fool victims into handing over the keys to their private information.
“Once you give them that single session access, and they’re in, well then they can install an application. They can install malware, spyware, backdoor, they can do anything. And once they put that on, then that could easily give them access to that computer remotely at any time they wanted,” Hodges said.
As the ploy progressed, it became clear exactly what they were after.
“They made it sound like they had put $3,999 in my account,” Evans said.
The scammers had tricked her into thinking she had mistyped the decimal point for her refund, and that’s when the fear tactics began.
“He said ‘I’m going to get fired if you don’t give the rest of the money back. It’s not your money and you need to give it back.’ I said ‘I don’t want your money.’ ‘I will give it back.'”
With the scammers still remotely accessing her computer, they had Evans login to a site that looked like her bank, all the while likely capturing that private information.
But, in order to avoid tracing a transfer back to their IP address they had to get Evans to complete it.
“They kept telling me it’s not my money and they wanted it back. That’s when I thought, well maybe I ought to quit talking to these guys,” she said.
It doesn’t stop there.
Evans admits she made one more mistake that could have cost her. She asked them for Amazon Prime’s number so she could verify.
“He said, ‘Ma’am you’ve got our money. You need to give it back, and I said ‘I’m not talking to you either,'” she said.
Evans, who has closed that bank account, narrowly escaped losing thousands. It is with that gratitude that she is speaking up so you don’t fall victim.