MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Joining us this morning is Jamie Harding with AARP Alabama, I talked to her over Zoom last week. Online shopping is an even bigger business now, due to the pandemic. And there is no bigger online store than Amazon. So of course, criminals are looking for the opportunity to profit. First up, what has AARP seen through their tip line?

Guest: A number of cases of this kind of fraud coming in and attempted fraud in some cases one was from a woman who received an email, that claimed to be from Amazon and they were asking for her very personal information, her social security number, her credit card, and this woman even allowed them access to her computer and that can be a very scary situation, then they have access to all of your personal information, passwords and so forth, that was a very sad instance, there was another one where someone was contacted via text message claiming to be from Amazon, it told her the account had suspicious activity on it, they had locked it and she had to send them a cash payment in the form of gift cards, in order to get it unlocked. Sadly she ended up sending them $13,000 dollars in gift cards, so these are very pervasive crimes right now as you said because Amazon is such a huge player in the online shopping world and also because during this pandemic people are doing more online shopping than ever before.

Chad: So what do people need to watch for in these scams?

Guest: Well one of the calls we got was from a woman who got a phishing email. That’s something where they’re trying to phish for information from you. It claimed to be from Amazon but if you looked closer at the email address, the ending of it was -dot-NG which is from Nigeria. When I get a suspicious email, I can always click on the email address, and oftentimes if not always it’s not from Amazon or resembling a legitimate address. They don’t expect people to check for things like that. That is a big sign you’re being scammed. The other thing we want people to know is if they do get something suspicious if they get a call or a text go to Amazon’s website and look for their customer service section and look for the phone number to call them back, don’t assume the number that comes up on their caller ID or voicemail or anywhere else is an actual amazon number go to their customer service website yourself and look for that information.

Chad: One of the more insidious issues here is that we are starting with email and we’re taught to dismiss suspicious email but in this case, Amazon itself does use email to contact customers, how do you ferret out good emails from the bad ones?

Guest: They’ll reference and order number so if you’ve ordered something from Amazon you’ll likely remember it and if you go to their email you can see it’s coming from Amazon, but if you have any questions about any kind of contact from them you can always call their customer service.