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Amazon Customer Support… NOT!

[UPDATED 10-28-17] In mid-August, a woman we’ll call “Martha” needed help with a shipping label for a product she purchased through Amazon but wished to return.  She searched Google for the Amazon customer support phone number and easily found 888-341-6651.  However, what she found turned out to be one of many fraudulent numbers posted by criminals to appear as Amazon support numbers.  She was victimized emotionally, financially, and felt that she couldn't trust her computer and online accounts.  The  fake phone number was  one of dozens of scam phone numbers cleverly positioned and posted on many Internet sites, including Amazon.com, by criminal gangs to lure unsuspecting consumers.

 

THESE ARE FRAUDULENT PHONE NUMBERS, PUBLISHED BY SCAMMERS AS "Amazon Customer Service" NUMBERS. DON'T CALL THEM!

888-341-6651     888-229-6124    855-440-444x
855-955-6617     800-230-5280    800-970-9340
855-601-0003      800-280-3321    800-280-4331
877-360-3446    844-869-6628      800-734-0842
ADDED 9-12-17:
888-342-6130      866-391-8221      888-342-6130
800-943-4706      844-830-9596      888-341-6651
800-230-528      800-387-0923
ADDED 9-17-17:
888-365-0444      888-465-9994      800-590-4131
800-360-6832     844-869-6628     844-642-4290
ADDED 9-28-17:
800-311-5860      800-693-9484
ADDED 10-29-17
800-311-5920     800-376-1170     800-693-9636
800-710-4075     844-241-7843
844-781-0555     888-636-5557

NOTE: Scam phone numbers are posted all over the web on blogs and forums but Spotify community forum is used a lot to post fake numbers!

CRIMINALS ARE ALSO POSTING FAKE APPLE COMPUTER CUSTOMER SUPPORT NUMBERS.
Read our related article
NOT Apple Customer Support Number.

Martha said that her call was answered by a man with a Middle Eastern or Indian accent who said he would pass her along to his supervisor to help with her request.  Given the many companies who outsource their helpdesks to phone centers in India and elsewhere, she didn’t find it unusual that the men who were assisting her had foreign accents.  The manager directed her to a link for gotoassist.com where, he said, he could help her after she entered an access code. (GoToAssist is a service that enables support people to resolve their customers' technical issues through screen sharing, mouse and keyboard controls.) She thought that the access code would produce the shipping label she was requesting, but the code gave control of her computer to the men at the other end of the phone.  As she tells us, within seconds and while talking to her in a way that was distracting and misleading, the men took control over her web browser which was logged into her Amazon account.  Quickly, they purchased a hundred dollar Amazon gift card and sent it to an email address that she only saw briefly. She thought it said amazonbrian123@gmail.com but she wasn’t certain.

 

By now, Martha was extremely suspicious, uncomfortable and asked them to explain what they were doing.  Keep in mind that she had called them through a phone number for Amazon Prime Customer Support provided by Google search results.  Why should she have any reason to be suspicious, until now.  The Manager assured Martha that this gift card was to be credited to her account after he completed a couple more things on her behalf.  He asked her to enter her credit card information on the Amazon screen, after which he explained that the problem related to the shipping label was associated with her PayPal account.  But Martha doesn’t have a PayPal account.  Now she was in a panic as she watched the men purchase another gift card.  They seemed so adept and quickly navigated the Amazon screens while logged in as her.  As she demanded that he stop and get out of her computer, the man at the other end of the phone yelled horribly offensive things at Martha. He froze her browser so nothing seemed to respond to her commands.  And what he said to her was so disturbing that Martha was brought to tears a week later as she described this experience. Finally, in a desperate move, she held down the power button, forcing the computer to shut off.  It has been a week since this experience.  She said she would not turn it back on until she had skilled, protective services she could trust to assess what may have been done to it and tell her whether or not she can trust it.

 

The next morning Martha received a phone call from 706-989-0029, with a caller ID described as “Evelyn Spencer.”   But when she answered the phone, a man with a Middle Eastern accent told her he was calling because he could see that she was having trouble with her computer.  He began to ask questions about the operating system she was using.  Martha quickly hung up, but was visibly shaken.  She was certain that this call was somehow connected to her experience with the fake Amazon Prime customer support call the day before.

 

Martha described her ordeal as frightening and emotionally upsetting.  Like many, her family has a lot of very personal information on her computer including tax information.  They use many online accounts in addition to Amazon and they are all connected through family email.  What, exactly, was stolen from her?  Could she trust her computer again or was something installed on it that could be used to take control or monitor her family?  In the days immediately following these events Martha contacted the real people at Amazon, cancelled her credit card, and advised both about the fraud.  Fortunately she will not be responsible for the gift card purchases but that is the least of her concerns.  She has reported the incident to the FTC website, frozen her credit with the credit reporting agencies, and checked with all of her financial institutions to be certain that the criminals haven’t somehow gained access to these accounts.  As you would expect, her family is now using new passwords for their many accounts.  Finally, about a week later, Martha took her computer to a local Apple Computer store genius bar.  The staff helped her use software to search for malware that might have been installed by the criminals.  They found none but she has turned off wifi on the computer to keep it off the Internet and won’t turn it on again until she has additional assurances that her computer is safe to use.

 

As horrible as Martha’s experiences were, they are not uncommon.  The criminals had tricked her and used a professional technology tool to take control of her computer and do harm.  They had destroyed her trust in her family’s digital lives and shaken her sense of security and safety in her own home.  As a reporter focused on Internet and smartphone fraud, I was saddened but not surprised by her experience.  But what struck me as most unusual about these events was the fact that Martha’s troubles began when she used Google to look for an Amazon customer support number.  Shouldn’t this have been a simple and safe request of Google?

 

On the morning of August 26, I visited Google and entered “Amazon Prime customer service number.”  What I saw was confusing because there were some links with references to a variety of unusual and different phone numbers. I immediately recognized text methods meant to deceive Google and Amazon authorities who might try to find and remove them from search results.  To refine my search, I clicked Google’s Tools button and asked to see search results from the past month.  The results Google returned were shocking. It wasn’t just a few links for scam phone numbers disguised as Amazon Customer Support, it was dozens.  Equally important, those scam phone numbers were showing up at the top of Google’s search results.  Clearly, the criminals had manipulated Google so that the fraudulent numbers overwhelmed any presence of the real Amazon customer support numbers.

Some of the scam phone numbers had spaces between the numbers, others used a capital letter O instead of a zero, others had multiple periods, plus signs, or colons separating parts of the phone number.  And all of them had repeated references to “Amazon Prime” and “Customer Service.”  These scam numbers were showing up on blogs and legitimate websites, like Facebook, Wikia,  Chezzo, Spotify discussion forum and many, many more.

Here are just a few of the links to legitimate web sites that contain fraudulent phone numbers for Amazon support.  (If you do not see the destination page upon clicking, it likely means that the fraud has been discovered by the hosting site and the page removed.)

 

https://wiki.bitcoin.com/w/(18%EF%BC%AF%EF%BC%AF97%EF%BC%AF934%EF%BC%AF)@@_Amazon_Fire_TV_Customer_Service_number_USA@!

https://community.spotify.com/t5/Accounts/FirE4TV-877-360-3446-amazon-prime-customer-support-phone-number/td-p/1881769

https://amazonprimecustomersupportblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/amazon-prime-support-number-1-8oo-23o-528o-amazon-customer-service-phone-number/

https://www.quora.com/Why-doesnt-Amazon-use-live-chat-for-customer-service

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/amazon-seller18oo-734-o842-amazon-prime-customer-service-phone-number-event-held-15aug-tickets-36957830867

 

RAISE YOUR AWARENESS ABOUT THESE OTHER SCAMS:

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Most prominently was this link to a fake Amazon page on Facebook…

 

Clicking this link for Facebook took me to a phony business account that claimed to represent Amazon…

As if that wasn’t enough fraud, I also saw dozens of links for scam phone numbers listed on Amazon’s own website in their community forum!  Here’s a screenshot showing one example from Google’s search…

Criminals had cleverly posted messages in Amazon’s own community support area and some of these messages remained undetected for at least seven days, deceiving consumers into thinking that these were legitimate Amazon phone numbers.  But that was still not the full extent of the fraud…

Additional links on Amazon going back 7 days...

           

While reviewing dozens and dozens links for fraudulent Amazon phone numbers that had appeared in Google, across many blogs, websites and social media, I also discovered a website named amazonprimehelpdesk.com.  According to a WHOIS lookup, this fraudulent website was  registered on March 29, 2017 by someone identified as “Nancy Jain.” This website is being hosted in Karnataka, India.  (http://whois.domaintools.com/amazonprimehelpdesk.com)  This fact and other bread crumbs down this rabbit hole suggest that the criminals involved in this effort are from India.

 

It appears as if this criminal gang has been making a very concerted effort to target Amazon consumers by blanketing the Internet with so many fraudulent phone numbers for customer support, that it is nearly impossible for consumers to avoid their traps.  And just as Amazon is being used successfully to target consumers, it’s important to remind readers that Google has equally been manipulated.  This manipulation is a form of search engine poisoning or “spamdexing” as it is sometimes called.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamdexing)  At the bottom of this article you will see the content found on just one community post on Amazon’s own website on Aug 26, 2017, 3:45:43 AM PDT from a user named “Garfied I.” (https://www.amazon.com/forum/community/ref=cm_cd_fp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx3UD5Q23BDDHVR&cdThread=TxOC49RY4CHWOY)  This one post below listed the word “amazon” 325 times,  “prime” 147 times,  “customer service” or “customer support” 141 times and “membership” 13 times.  It’s no wonder that Google found it and seemed to think that it had to do with Amazon Prime Customer Service!  Other profile names on Amazon discussion boards have included the username “Customer Support” and “Community Support.”

 

On Amazon’s own community pages, we found the following fraudulent phone numbers posted as customer support numbers between August 17 - 26:

888-229-6124
855-955-6617
800-230-5280
800-734-0842
1855~6O1~OOO3  (855-601-0003)
877-360-3446

 

By this time, I was so unsure myself between the real and fraudulent Amazon phone numbers that I began to doubt all the numbers I found.  By calling and asking Amazon questions about my own account, I was able to confirm three real and official Amazon Customer Support phone numbers.  They are…

888-280-3321

888-280-4331

866-216-1072 (Amazon Digital Services)

 

However, look closely at the real phone numbers above compared to these next two numbers!  In our web research we’ve also found consumer references to nearly identical but fraudulent phone numbers used by criminals.  The nearly identical scam numbers are 800-280-3321 and 800-280-4331.

 

The best assurance that consumers have reached a real Amazon customer support representative is to ask the representative one of the following questions after providing the name and address on your Amazon account:

 

1.     What was the last purchase I made with Amazon and on what date?

2.     How much was the most recent transaction on my Amazon account?

 

The real representative will have no problem looking up your order history to confirm this information.  A scammer cannot.  More importantly, a scammer will make up some reason why he cannot do this or tell you that you have to give him much more personal information such as your account password before he can answer your questions.  Giving you a hard time or asking you for your password means it is time to hang up and report the phone number to us at spoofs@thedailyscam.com so we can inform our readers!  We will continue to collect and post fraudulent Amazon phone numbers as we find them. Another option to help you with your questions is to log into your Amazon account and then visit: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/contact-us

 

It is hard to believe that Amazon isn’t aware of this problem.  If you visit their website, it is actually quite difficult to locate any of their customer service phone numbers, which may explain why consumers are turning to Google.  And that, too, would explain why it may be so profitable for criminals to poison Google’s search results.  We reached out to Amazon’s public relations department to ask them important questions we thought consumers would want to know.  For example…

1.     Why are fraudulent phone numbers able to be posted and remain on their community forum for at least a week?

2.     Why doesn’t Amazon post their customer support phone numbers prominently on their website?

3.     Why doesn’t Amazon provide some type of warning about this scam for consumers when they log into their Prime accounts?

4.     Has Amazon tried to work with Google to find and remove the poisoned links?

5.     Has Amazon itself, conducted searches in Google and tried to contact the website where fraudulent phone numbers are being posted?


UPDATE 9/26/17:
Today we received an email from a senior citizen who shared this story with us....
I called Amazon support 888.365.9444 to report a series of phishing emails I had received. I
spoke with an "Amazon representative" whom informed me the phishing emails had likely infected my computer as I had open 1 as the subject line indicated an order # and I had an order pending. The fake rep told me they worked very closely with ITE Solutions and transferred my call. In short, I was a total idiot and took the bait, allowing them access to my computers via logmein and writing an e-check for $739.98.

I am working with my bank to get payment stopped on the check, but they use a random check number. Yes, I missed every darn clue. Spoke to Amazon today and they basically threw me under the bus. The incident occurred Saturday. Today I further investigated the phone number which shows high on the Google list for Amazon, Apple, HP and Facebook. I always read how senior citizens get scammed, and say "Not me."  Well it was me and I am very embarrassed that I allowed this to happen. Don't be their next victim.


Surprisingly, we found few people online reporting this scam and raising consumer awareness.  Here are the few links we found from around the web:

 

http://www.valleynewslive.com/content/news/Fake-phone-number-for-Amazon-Support-almost-costs-woman-1000-441062573.html

 

Woman who posted a video on YT claimed on July 31, 2017 that 888-229-6651 is a fake Amazon Prime customer support number: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrfX26xqgtE  (Advance to 15 minutes and 30 seconds into the video for this exact reference.)

 

http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-888-229-6124

 

As always, we have your back!  TheDailyScam.com will continue to keep this story updated and post fraudulent phone numbers as we learn of them.

 

 

Community Post from Amazon.com Aug 26, 2017, 3:45:43 AM PDT https://www.amazon.com/forum/community/ref=cm_cd_fp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx3UD5Q23BDDHVR&cdThread=TxOC49RY4CHWOY

 

Garfield I says:

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