WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — An elaborate scam that started with a phone call conned a Wichita woman out of more than $15,000.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said the 68-year-old woman got a phone call from someone claiming they were from Amazon. The person told the woman her account showed she just purchased a cellphone.
When the woman told the caller she did not buy a phone, Bennett says the fake “Amazon representative” claimed they were transferring the call to the woman’s bank.
The next person on the line, supposedly with the woman’s bank, said he would transfer her to the Federal Trade Commission to report the scam.
Bennett said this is where the scammers convinced the woman to move everything in her bank account to cryptocurrency.
The district attorney said there is a simple way to avoid this scam.
“Don’t allow anyone to transfer you to your bank,” Bennett said in a news release. “Call your bank directly by using the phone number on your statement or the back of your debit or credit card.”
He also said the government would never ask someone to move money into cryptocurrency.
If you think you are the victim of a scam, report it to the police or the sheriff’s office.
If you have questions, contact the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division at 316-660-3653 or email@example.com.
Amazon contacted KSN News about this scam. It says it works with law enforcement to ensure that scammers are held accountable. Amazon says it initiated takedowns of more than 20,000 phishing websites and 10,000 phone numbers used in impersonation scams last year.
It says it is committed to protecting consumers and educating the public on scam avoidance, and Amazon asked us to add these safety tips to our story:
- Verify purchases on Amazon. If you receive a message about the purchase of a product or service, do not respond to the message or click on any link in the message; instead, log into your Amazon account or use the Amazon mobile app and confirm that it is really in your purchase history before taking any action.
- Trust Amazon’s app and website. We will not ask for payment over the phone or email—only in our mobile app, on our website, or in one of our physical stores. We will not call and ask you to make a payment or bank transfer on another website.
- Be wary of false urgency. Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to do what they’re asking.
- Don’t be pressured into buying a gift card. We will never ask you to purchase a gift card, and no legitimate sale or transaction will require you to pay with gift cards. Learn more about common gift card scams on our help pages.
- Contact us. If you are ever unsure, it’s safest to stop engaging with the potential scammer and contact us directly through the Amazon app or website. Do not call numbers sent over text or email or found in online search results. Remember, Amazon will not ask you to download or install any software to connect with customer service, nor will we request payment for any customer service support.
- Check what others are saying. See if anyone else has reported a similar situation. In the U.S., Amazon has partnered with the Better Business Bureau to provide consumers with a searchable Scam Tracker that enables you to search suspicious communications reported by others by email, URL, phone number, and more.
Amazon customers can also use the Amazon self-service tool to report suspicious communications.
If you are not an Amazon customer, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.