Hank Investigates: Danger at Your Doorstep

(WHDH)– It all started with a phone call. 

“I grabbed the phone and answered,” a Newton resident told us, we aren’t revealing her name. She says a man claiming to be with Amazon told her there were fraudulent charges on her account.        

“He said he knew my name. He verified my address,” she said.    

It seemed believable. But when she asked him to cancel the charges, he told her he couldn’t.  

The caller told her: 

“I can’t cancel it because whoever charged it has all of your security information and answered all of your security questions as well. So, the only way we can confirm that you are who you say you are, in order to cancel the charges– is in person,” she said.  

To confirm her identity, he said, she needed to buy a $500 gift card and wait for further instructions.  

“I knew that was ludicrous,” she said.  

She said she’d call him back but called 7 investigates instead.    

So, we called him with her and even said we were recording the call.       

He just repeated his instructions about the gift card:

“Amazon has credited an amount of five hundred dollars for you to use it in the Target store. What you have to do, you have to get a Target card.”

Then, the scary part.  

“A representative he will be coming at your doorstep tomorrow to collect that card physically from you,” the caller said.  

“From my house?” The Newton resident asked.  

“Yes,” the caller said.  

When we questioned his credentials, he yelled at us.   

“Ma’am, are you out of your mind? You are talking to Amazon customer care!” The caller yelled.  

Really? We took our tape straight to the Newton police and played the whole thing.      

“How disturbing is it that someone would come to their door?” Hank asked.  

“It’s very disturbing because this person is coming to your house. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker from the Newton Police Department said.   

Police told us the con artists are cunning and clever, and they aren’t making empty threats.  

“We’ve had a couple of incidents, one where somebody did give money. The second one, the homeowner tried to take a picture of the person coming to the door. And that person ended up running away when they saw that they were going to be captured on video,” Apotheker said.  

Amazon tells us they’ll never call and ask you for personal information and will never require you to prove your identity by buying a gift card.  

In this case, our “caller” eventually got so frustrated; he hung up on us.  

This savvy resident says if you get a call like this, you should hang up first.      

“Somebody absolutely could get sucked into this from the beginning, because you do worry about someone getting your account and all of your information,” the Newton resident said.  

Here’s how to protect yourself and where to report suspicious texts, calls, and emails:  

How to tell if a call, text or email is really from Amazon: 

Amazon’s warning about gift card scams and how to report suspicious calls, texts, and emails: 

Amazon does investigate and take steps to stop scammers and protect customers: 

https://press.aboutamazon.com/news-releases/news-release-details/amazon-stops-multiple-fraudulent-affiliate-marketing-schemes. 

Target’s warning about gift card scams: 

FTC warning about gift card scams: 

 

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