ACI The Next Chapter in Fraud October 2023

Amazon Files 4 Lawsuits Targeting Impersonation Fraud

Amazon has filed four federal lawsuits against fraudulent organizations that attempted to scam consumers by impersonating the company.

The lawsuits were filed in Western District of Pennsylvania, Eastern District of North Carolina, Northern District of Georgia and in the District of Arizona, Amazon said in a Thursday (Nov. 9) press release.

The groups being sued operated websites that visually appeared to be associated with Amazon and had people who impersonated Amazon customer support representatives, according to the release.

When consumers searched for online support for activating Amazon’s Prime Video on streaming devices, these groups used their websites to prompt the consumers to call a number for assistance, the release said. They then attempted to sell the consumers nonexistent Prime Video subscription “upgrades.”

“Amazon’s customer obsession motivates our commitment to protect our brand from scammers attempting to take advantage of people who trust us,” Amazon said in the release. “We work diligently to help educate consumers avoid scams and ensure scammers are held accountable.”

The four lawsuits announced Thursday are part of the retailer’s continuing efforts to combat impersonation schemes worldwide, according to the press release. These efforts are led by Amazon’s Customer Protection and Enforcement team, which includes attorneys and cybercrime investigators who take action against scammers around the world.

The lawsuits come about three weeks after Amazon teamed up with Microsoft and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India, an effort that culminated in law enforcement raids on several locations tied to impersonation scams.

That investigation and the raids targeted illegal call centers in India that were impersonating Amazon and Microsoft customer support.

“We are pleased to join forces with Microsoft, and we believe actionable partnerships like these are critical in helping protect consumers from impersonation scams,” Kathy Sheehan, vice president and associate general counsel, Business Conduct & Ethics at Amazon, said at the time. “We cannot win this fight alone. We encourage others in the industry to join us as a united front against criminal activity.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that as of November 2022, impersonation fraud had siphoned $6 billion from victims since 2018. In those cases, fraudsters posed as executives or government agencies.