OCONEE COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said people posing as Amazon workers are tricking victims out of thousands of dollars.
“The caller tells the victim that they have charges on their Amazon account or the victims owe Amazon money,” a press release said. “When the victim questions the charges on the account, the caller instructs them to go and purchase gift cards so money can be credited to their account. Once the gift cards are purchased, then the victims are instructed by the caller to provide the card numbers so the caller can access the money on the card,” the release said.
Investigators said in one case, one victim discovered they were missing $7,000 and $9,000 was missing from someone in another case.
“Four of those reports that we took, there was loses combined of about $25,000,” said Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
Stephanie Jackson didn’t lose cash in this scam, but she has before. Now she’s using her experience to share warning signs with others, for the next time an unexpected call comes.
“Google is our best tool, as well as the numbers to the company. Call them. Do your own research. When they call you, you call them, and it will work out, you know what I’m saying…to where you won’t be a victim,” Jackson said.
“If somebody calls you and you don’t recognize the number, don’t even answer the call. And one of the reasons for that is, if you answer the call, the scammers may know that is a working telephone number, so therefore that can open you up to more scams,” Watt said. “Most legitimate businesses or organizations will not ask you to make a payment using a prepaid card, or some type of gift card,” he said.
Watt also said that people can use local numbers to try to contact you, too.
“Well one thing that scammers can do is, they can do something called spoofing. In spoofing, a scammer can make it look like they’re calling from a local telephone number, where they may actually be calling from a location maybe somewhere in United States, or even around the world, and they can spoof that number to make it look like they’re calling from a local number,” Watt said.
“If for some reason you get a call from let’s just say somebody claiming to be from Amazon, they say you got charges on your account, you owe them money, we would advise people at that point, just to hang up the phone and check their account online to see if first of all, is that true,” Watt said.
Jackson said after her experience, she will forever remember all safety tips.
“Me myself, yes, I learned a valuable lesson. They got me for that $300, but the lesson learned is priceless,” Jackson said.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said it’s also important to call Amazon’s customer service number, to make them aware of these scam attempts. Investigators recommend you not only file a report with your local law enforcement agency, but also encourage you to contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.