Increase in imposter scams as online shopping increases amid COVID-19 pandemic

Laveta Brigham

Scammers continue to take advantage of online shoppers amid holiday season Updated: 9:58 PM EST Nov 30, 2020 With an increase in online shopping comes the risk of scammers trying to target you.If someone or a company reaches out claiming you owe them money, you need to do your homework […]

Scammers continue to take advantage of online shoppers amid holiday season


With an increase in online shopping comes the risk of scammers trying to target you.If someone or a company reaches out claiming you owe them money, you need to do your homework and make sure it’s legit. You can be sure the scammers are doing their homework on you.One Baltimore County woman shares her story that started with a disturbing call.Debbie Gill is retired, disabled and was home alone when the imposter tried to scam her over the phone. Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau officials say she’s one of many. “I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t my order and he says, ‘Well obviously you’re lying to me,’” Gill said.Gill said she knew there was a problem when she got an email last week, supposedly from Amazon, claiming she’d ordered Apple products at the cost of more than $5,600.She knew she hadn’t but the man who answered the toll free number listed on the email insisted and told her she could go to jail. He knew her birthdate, her address and most upsetting to her, he somehow knew her kids’ names.”And I said ‘What if somebody comes knocking on my door? And they take me out of here when I’m by myself?’ And that’s what scared me,” Gill said.The threats and intimidation with this type of imposter scam, particularly the Amazon one, is all too common, especially right now as people are doing more online shopping, according to Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland President Angie Barnett.You can report or read about scams and how to protect yourself on the Better Business Bureau website.“We’ve seen it absolutely escalate during the pandemic and that’s because people are financially fragile, people are more isolated, people are maybe having challenges in their life,” Barnett said. “It is this perfect opportunity that the pandemic has brought to us. Increase online shopping, you know financial issues, we are really consumers of online, scammers know it and that’s what they’re taking advantage of.”The scam starts with a phishing email and the goal is to get the targeted victim on the phone and convince them they owe money.Barnett says the scammers will usually try to get payment through a pre-paid debit card or an iTunes gift card. They might also try to get account numbers and passwords.”Take a breath, step away, hang up and actually call Amazon and call whoever that authoritarian figure being used,” Barnett said.”I just didn’t appreciate it. He was so rude and I really, really wanted to give it back to him.”The scammer told Gill she had an unpaid line of credit. Fortunately, she didn’t hand over any money and she doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else.”Some poor person — elderly, not elderly— they could have paid this. They could have just said, ‘Oh,’ and maybe not thought, ‘OK’ and they could have given this man what he wanted,” she said.

With an increase in online shopping comes the risk of scammers trying to target you.

If someone or a company reaches out claiming you owe them money, you need to do your homework and make sure it’s legit. You can be sure the scammers are doing their homework on you.

One Baltimore County woman shares her story that started with a disturbing call.

Debbie Gill is retired, disabled and was home alone when the imposter tried to scam her over the phone. Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau officials say she’s one of many.

“I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t my order and he says, ‘Well obviously you’re lying to me,’” Gill said.

Gill said she knew there was a problem when she got an email last week, supposedly from Amazon, claiming she’d ordered Apple products at the cost of more than $5,600.

She knew she hadn’t but the man who answered the toll free number listed on the email insisted and told her she could go to jail. He knew her birthdate, her address and most upsetting to her, he somehow knew her kids’ names.

“And I said ‘What if somebody comes knocking on my door? And they take me out of here when I’m by myself?’ And that’s what scared me,” Gill said.

The threats and intimidation with this type of imposter scam, particularly the Amazon one, is all too common, especially right now as people are doing more online shopping, according to Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland President Angie Barnett.

“We’ve seen it absolutely escalate during the pandemic and that’s because people are financially fragile, people are more isolated, people are maybe having challenges in their life,” Barnett said. “It is this perfect opportunity that the pandemic has brought to us. Increase online shopping, you know financial issues, we are really consumers of online, scammers know it and that’s what they’re taking advantage of.”

The scam starts with a phishing email and the goal is to get the targeted victim on the phone and convince them they owe money.

Barnett says the scammers will usually try to get payment through a pre-paid debit card or an iTunes gift card. They might also try to get account numbers and passwords.

“Take a breath, step away, hang up and actually call Amazon and call whoever that authoritarian figure being used,” Barnett said.

“I just didn’t appreciate it. He was so rude and I really, really wanted to give it back to him.”

The scammer told Gill she had an unpaid line of credit. Fortunately, she didn’t hand over any money and she doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else.

“Some poor person — elderly, not elderly— they could have paid this. They could have just said, ‘Oh,’ and maybe not thought, ‘OK’ and they could have given this man what he wanted,” she said.

Source Article

Next Post

The best glasses online for 2020: where to find prescription eyeglasses

If you’re not looking online for prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and sunglasses, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings. Buying prescription glasses online from a manufacturer such as Warby Parker or one of its many competitors in the eyeglasses industry is not only cheaper, but it’s also a lot less time consuming […]