ROXBURY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police in New Jersey are warning residents about two Amazon scams targeting people of all ages.
Police are saying it has been difficult to track down and arrest the scammers since most of the time they are international, CBS2’s John Dias reported Monday.
Local residents are on high alert.
“I think it’s scary, very scary,” Beth Ward Mount said.
“It’s awful. I just don’t know what people can do,” Eleanor Cacace added.
“I am always wary. I always log out and then log back in because I don’t want to give anyone information,” Pete Taerno said.
Investigators are calling the first scam the “Prime Subscription Scam,” in which a phony caller says the person’s Prime Subscription or other order “was purchased fraudulently and that they need remote access to the person’s computer in order to fix a security flaw that will prevent it from happening again.”
The scammers have the recipient download an application called TeamViewer and disable all virus software programs, then ask the targeted victim to log-in to their online banking accounts.
By the end of the process, the scammer gets complete access to the person’s money and information.
“[They are] going straight into your computer and disabling your firewalls and things of that nature and they have access to your information,” Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi said.
The second phone scam directs people to a website that looks exactly like the Amazon website, but it’s fake. That’s when targets are asked to re-enter personal information, including bank account details.
“It’s a pretty legitimate scam in terms of how authentic it looks,” Palanchi said. “If it comes across now you almost have to assume it’s a scam until you prove it’s not. That’s the safest approach we tell our people to take.”
Police say scammers often target senior citizens, but when it comes to these two new scams, anyone at any age could fall victim, Dias reported.
“How many people use Amazon? So many. That could get out of control very quickly,” Palanchi said.
Police said several people have reported cases in the last week, but since hackers tend to be international it’s hard to find and arrest them.
Cyber security expert Ian Marlow said he believes the best way to beat scammers is to ask them for information.
“If someone ever calls you and asks you to verify personal information, and you’re not the one that called them, you do not answer it,” said Marlow, CEO of FitechGelb. “If you want you can even ask for an 800 number or a number to call them back at. They’ll likely not give it to you.”
But if they do, hang up and call back. Marlow said that’s the start of confirming the company is legitimate.
To report suspicious e-mails, phone calls or webpages, Amazon has a set up an online page for customers.