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Ohio AG warns of scammers claiming to be Amazon, other big companies

Dave Yost said the scammers will call pretending to be big companies like Amazon, Apple or others, trying to steal your money. Here's how you can protect yourself.
Credit: AP
FILE - April 16, 2020, the Amazon logo is displayed in Douai, northern France. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The holiday shopping season is upon us and so are scammers trying to take advantage of people.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the scammers will call pretending to be big companies like Amazon, Apple or others, trying to steal your money.

The scammers will then say that a large purchase has been charged to your credit card and want to help get you a refund.

“Legitimate companies don’t do business this way, so just hang up,” Yost said. “These impostors want to get you on the line and cause panic so you cough up personal information. My hope is that you will answer by ending the call.” 

Here's what happens: the person pretending to be a representative will persuade you to give them remote access to your device so the "representative" can issue a refund. Instead, the scammer gains access to your device and takes your personal information.

In another variation of the scam, the fraudster will ask you to buy gift cards as a way of "stopping" the unauthorized purchase. 

On Amazon’s website, company guidelines make it clear that Amazon would never call a customer to seek personal information or discuss a refund that the customer isn’t already expecting.

Here are a few tips from Yost's office to help you deal with scammers:

  • Hang up if you receive a cold call from someone claiming you made a big purchase from Amazon or another popular online retailer.
  • Examine the details of your online account purchases and credit card bills for unauthorized charges. Report any unauthorized charges immediately.
  • Never allow a stranger to remotely access your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Be highly suspicious of requests from a stranger to buy gift cards as payment for any product or service as part of a “refund” process or to allegedly help stop fraud from a third party.

To report a scam, you can contact the Ohio Attorney General's Help Center here.

If you are a victim of a scam by disclosing personal information, download Ohio Attorney General’s ID Theft Basics publication and visit www.identitytheft.gov for more help.

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