Industry titans Amazon and Microsoft are going after cybercriminals who pose as representatives for trusted brands to defraud customers.
With the two companies’ help, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said it had conducted a series of raids in multiple cities in India against illegal call centers. The operators were pretending to be Microsoft and Amazon customer support. The call centers had impacted over 2,000 Amazon and Microsoft customers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, according to Amazon.
“Amazon will remain vigilant and persistent in our efforts to stay one step ahead of fraudsters, but we cannot win this fight alone. We encourage others in the industry to join us as a united front against criminal activity,” Kathy Sheehan, Amazon’s vice president and associate general counsel for business conduct and ethics said in a statement.
Scams aren’t new, but as the world becomes more digital, more fraudsters are looking to trick users by putting fake customer service phone numbers online. When a customer searches for a service’s contact information, they might come across a bogus phone number instead. From there, the cybercriminals try to charge them for customer service or get them to sign up for services they don’t need.
It’s enough that Microsoft and Amazon, which compete on web services, partnered up against this threat.
“Amazon has zero tolerance for criminals who pretend to be us, or any brand, to commit fraud,” the e-commerce giant said in the release.
In 2022, Amazon said it initiated takedowns of over 20,000 phishing websites and 10,000 phone numbers being used as part of impersonation schemes.
“We firmly believe that partnerships like these are not only necessary but pivotal in creating a safer online ecosystem and in extending our protective reach to a larger number of individuals,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
If you have questions for a company or need to make changes to a subscription, make sure you’re getting the information directly from the company’s website. This might seem like a given, but phony websites can look pretty real. Instead of Googling how to cancel the subscription, visit the provider’s website and search for its FAQ. This also goes for finding a company’s customer service number.
It’s also beneficial to familiarize yourself with phishing scams. Bad actors will use email or text messages with cleverly worded requests designed to get you to respond with your personal information. These messages often try to convince you that your payment method failed or your account is compromised — and ask you to click a link to fix it. Do not click the link — even if it sounds urgent.
Scammers use manipulation tactics that prey on your emotions, and have gotten increasingly good at it over the years. If you’re uncertain about the status of your account — check your account through the service’s website.
Image credit: Amazon