Criminals are targeting members of the public with automated calls stating that the recipient has been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription.
Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, is warning people of a new scam that has seen victims lose over £400,000.
Unsuspecting members of the public are being mercilessly targeted with automated calls which tell them a fraudster has used their personal details to sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription. The victim is then instructed to press 1 to cancel the transaction. When they do this, they are directly connected to the real scammer who poses as an Amazon customer service representative.
The criminal tells the victim the Amazon Prime subscription was purchased fraudulently and that they need remote access to the victim's computer in order to fix a security flaw that will prevent it from happening again. The victim is instructed to download an application called Team Viewer and asked to log onto their online banking account. The software download grants the fraudster remote access to the victim's computer and allows them to see the victim's personal and financial details.
Other variants of the crime involve victims being told they are due a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.
So far, Action Fraud has received 200 reports from people who have lost money to the scam. They have received a further 300 reports from people who received one of the scam calls but did not follow the fraudsters instructions.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Action Fraud is reminding people to never install any software as a result of a cold call.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
"Unsolicited requests to remote access your computer should always raise a red flag. It's easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations but its okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
"If you've received an unexpected phone call, or other communication, stop and take a minute to think about whether an organisation would get in touch with you out of the blue in this way. Instead, contact them directly using a known email or phone number."