Our commercial loan department manager, Judd Kirkham, just told me about a scam to watch for after one of our customers recently had $100,000 taken from them by smart fraudsters through their Amazon® account.
Here’s what happened and some ways to avoid it.
Our customer (like many businesses) sells a product on Amazon. Amazon is the only sales outlet for this business (again, like many businesses), so the sales and revenue through this channel are a significant percentage of the company’s business. Our customer gets paid for recent sales on Amazon every two weeks through the bank information they have entered into their Amazon account.
The fraudsters hacked into our customer’s Amazon account and first changed the email address for notifications and updates inside the account. Some time later, the hackers got in again and changed the bank routing number and account number. The next payment date, Amazon paid the funds from the recent sales into the fraudulent bank account. The customer didn’t receive any notification that the bank account information was changed, so they didn’t find out until a couple of days later when they logged in to monitor their funds.
The fraudsters successfully rerouted $100,000 in sales to a fraudulent bank account. Since then, the business owners have been able to visit Amazon headquarters and work with a team at Amazon that has refunded some of the funds. Amazon intends to refund all the funds over a period of time, so our customer will get their money back. In the meantime, the cash flow crunch on the company has been difficult, besides the time and stress spent working through the problem.
Here are some suggestions to consider for preventing this type of fraud:
Check Amazon account information regularly. Log in to your Amazon account and verify account information regularly, including email addresses, bank routing and account information and account verification details.
Set up two-step verification. Inside your Amazon account, set up two-step verification. Go to your account, then “Login & security,” then “Advanced settings” and set up a second verification. You can add your phone number and then if you (or someone else) sign in to your account from a different computer than usual, you will be required to enter a verification code sent to your phone number before you can enter your password and log in. This adds another layer of difficulty for hackers who want to get in to your account.
Make sure your computer’s security settings are robust. There are a few different ways to protect yourself, your computer and your information from hackers. Check out some of our other tips on the security tab.
Fraudsters, scammers and hackers are finding new ways to hurt individuals and businesses, so make sure you’re always keeping your information safe and secure. You may not be able to avoid every scam that comes your way, but you’ll benefit from knowing more about common scams today and how you might be able to protect yourself.
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