The Better Business Bureau® is partnering with Amazon to drive an education campaign aimed at helping consumers spot impersonation scams during this holiday season (BBB.org/ImpersonationScams).
This scam tactic occurs when a scammer pretends to be a trustworthy organization or individual to steal a person’s money or personal information. This co-branded campaign will run through the holiday season when we typically see an increase in scam attempts with more people seeking to make purchases.
The campaign follows new research published by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust on October 5th. The new report, Start With Trust® Online, the 2022 BBB Online Scams report, highlighted new scam tactics, particularly scams perpetrated online including online purchase scams that impersonate the brands of well-known businesses.
“Fifty-four percent of survey respondents said the scammer claimed to be from a legitimate organization, according to our latest research,” notes Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, the BBB’s foundation. “Of those who said they were targeted by an impersonation scam, 50% said they were targeted by scammers pretending to be a trustworthy business. Our partnership with Amazon will help us reach more consumers with important information about how to spot and avoid losing money to these scams.”
“Amazon is committed to protecting consumers from impersonation scams and helping them protect themselves,” said Kathy Sheehan, vice president and associate general counsel at Amazon. “We’re grateful to partner with consumer advocates like the Better Business Bureau to educate consumers.”
Data for the campaign and the BBB Institute research report were provided through BBB Scam Tracker, an online reporting and prevention tool that enables people to report and search scam reports. A new-and-improved version of BBB Scam Tracker will be launched in November in partnership with Amazon and Capital One.
BBB and Amazon recommend the following tips for shopping online:
• Stay calm. If you receive a suspicious phone call, resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is or how threatening or intimidating the caller sounds.
• Don’t reply directly. Instead, visit the company’s website or app to use their customer service channel and verify the message or phone call you received.
• Go to the source or get help. When in doubt, call a friend, loved one or your local BBB to ask for a second opinion. Regardless of what is said in the phone conversation, tell someone.
• Never feel pressured to give personal information (SSN, account numbers/passwords, license number, etc.) over the phone, especially if the call was unexpected. Scammers may try to use calls, texts, and emails to impersonate a company’s customer service. If you are unsure, end the call/chat and reach out directly to the company’s customer service phone number or website.
• Never pay over the phone, especially if the call was unsolicited. If you need to make a payment, go directly to the organization’s website or app.
• Never allow remote access to your computer if somebody offers tech support. Shut down your computer immediately and seek support directly from your service provider.
• Search BBB Scam Tracker. If you’re suspicious about the situation, search BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has reported a similar situation. The NEW BBB Scam Tracker enables you to search by email, URL, phone number, and more. You can also report suspicious communications that mention Amazon directly to the company here.
• Check that email address or URL more closely. Scammers use similar website addresses or emails to appear legitimate, but if you look closely, you may find one letter or number that is off.