Anatomy of an imposter scam banner

One way to spot a scam is to understand its mechanics. A new and complicated scam starts with a call or text message about a suspicious charge on your Amazon account. But it’s not really Amazon. It’s a scammer with an elaborate story about fraud using your identity that ends with you draining your bank or retirement accounts.

Here’s what to know about this scam scenario.

It’s not Amazon calling. Scammers spoof their phone number to make it look like it’s Amazon calling. Don’t trust the number in your caller ID and don’t trust what the caller tells you. Worried about a suspicious purchase on Amazon? Log in through the website or app. Don’t call back the number that called you or a number someone left in a voicemail or text message.

No one legitimate will tell you to keep it a secret. If there’s a problem with your account or identity, always talk about it with someone you trust — especially if the stranger on the phone says it’s serious or involves a crime or claims to be from the government. That’s a scam.

No one used your Social Security number to open fraudulent accounts in your name. Scammers say this to scare you — don’t trust the person on the phone. To know for sure, get an instant copy of your credit report online for free and look for accounts you don’t recognize. Visit (or have someone help you visit)

Don’t believe a caller who says you’ll be immediately arrested for account fraud. That’s a scam. If someone stole your identity to open fraudulent accounts, complete an FTC identity theft report at, then put an extended fraud alert on your credit report. Do not transfer money or drain your savings to protect it from fraud.

Did you get a call about suspicious activity in your Amazon account? It’s a scam. Hang up.


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Submitted by Qwe on March 15, 2024 | 11:37AM


How do you stop Emails from scammers stating I am being charged for bitcoins, PayPal, security, and iPhones? I keep getting them.

Hi. I do not hit unsubscribe from fake emails. I have not confirmed but I know I have heard that they can tell that your email is legit by hitting the unsubscribe. If the email is acting like it is from a legitimate company, I will report it to their fraud team. Otherwise I continue to hit spam for google to automatically send it to my spam folder. Whatever you do, do not click within the email.
Good luck!!!

Submitted by KNel on March 19, 2024 | 12:59AM


I received a new call the other day about a package I ordered from Amazon. I had not ordered one so it was easy to tell it was a scam. For me, I was like, I have been ordering off Amazon for years and no one has ever called me about that. Like the article says, go to the source through a phone number or contact service on the company the person is calling from.
Thanks for the article and reminder.