A new scam circulating around Maine involves callers claiming to be from Amazon with news about your account.

Have You Seen These Emails in Your Account?

I've recently noticed a lot of emails in my account that say they're from Amazon. The message claims that there's been a questionable charge on my account and that my account is on hold. In the email, they include a link for me to click in order to straighten out the issue. Instead of clicking any links, I went to my actual Amazon account and checked things out. No strange charges and no issues.

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How Do the Phone Calls Work?

Now, AARP is cautioning about an uptick in similar phone calls, with scammers telling people that there's been a suspicious charge on their account. It doesn't have to be Amazon, either. It could be Target or Walmart, or any other large retailer where they're pretty sure you shop. They instruct you to press 1 or 2 to report the fraud. Once you press one of those numbers, they have you hooked.

Next, they'll ask for your account information, which will give them access to your Amazon (or whatever retailer) account, and all the financial information you may have stored there. Or they may ask for permission to remotely access your computer. Either way, it puts your identity and your finances at great risk.

Experts say Amazon is currently the most common retailer name being used because, since the pandemic, so many people are ordering from it. Most people have an Amazon account and so are more apt to fall prey to the crooks.

What Do I Do If I Get One of These Calls?

AARP advises not responding to this or any robocaller. If you receive one of these types of calls, hang up without pressing any numbers and log into your Amazon account to inspect it for suspicious charges. Call blockers can help keep these types of shady calls away from your phone. Never, ever give your financial or personal information over the phone, unless it's a call that you initiated to a reputable company. And never let someone else take remote control of your computer.

You can report a scam on the AARP Fraud Watch Network Hotline at 877-908-3360, whether or not you're a member of the American Association of Retired Persons.

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