New Amazon scam involves expensive people posing as U.S. government employees, Apple products

Posted at 5:33 AM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 06:49:38-04

(WXYZ) — Many people use Amazon to order everything from paper towels to electronics, but a new scam is targeting Amazon customers.

The scam had several layers, which ultimately led to one Michigan woman losing nearly $5,000.

Taylor Inman of Flint said in late April, she got a call on her cell phone from a restricted number, asking about a computer purchase on her Amazon account.

“I knew I didn't order a MacBook Pro for $999 because that's what they were telling me. So, I ended up speaking with somebody," Inman said.

The caller went on to say her identity had been hacked so they had to transfer her to a representative with the Department of Treasury, who claimed five accounts had been opened in her name.

After texts and emails, she was convinced she had to withdraw nearly all of her money from her bank account.

"I had to basically go to a Bitcoin machine, deposit this amount of money -- which was $4,500 cash -- took it out of my bank account with him on the phone. And he said that I would get it back the very next day," Inman said.

They also said she would get a new social security number, but it was all a scam.

"When you realized the money was gone, what went through your mind?" I asked her.

"I just honestly, like, I felt stupid. But then I just thought about it, and I was like, well, they were so, you know, they were so, like, convincing," she said.

The Better Business Bureau said this is one of eight cases reported to the metro Detroit office in the last three months. Two of those cases were asking the consumer to verify the purchase of an expensive Apple product.

"What's different about this scam?" I asked Ashley Gibbard from the Better Business Bureau of Southeastern Michigan

"They roped in the government, the U.S. Department of Treasury. He was claiming, the person she was speaking to gave her a badge number for the agent she was speaking to. And then it also snowballed into some sort of Bitcoin scam where she was provided a link to transfer money into Bitcoin," Gibbard said.

”What was the first warning sign here?" I replied.

“Amazon will never call you to verify any sort of purchase. They will never reach out to you out of the blue, nothing like that," she said.

Gibbard said you should log in to your Amazon account to see your purchase history for yourself. If you have questions, contact Amazon support.

If you respond to a scammer, they will say or do pretty much anything to convince you to give personal information or your money. Don't do it.

If you get a call with a recording giving prompts to verify or deny an expensive Amazon purchase, just hang up.