Sheriff's Office

PR #:
2021-59
Date Issued:
Apr 13, 2021 - 12:04PM

For Immediate Release

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies warn of fraudulent Amazon suspicious activity scam

Contact:
Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies are warning the public about a scam in the region where the suspect claims to be a security representative from Amazon.com.

Since February multiple victims have reported to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office that fraudsters, acting as Amazon representatives, claim the victim had fraudulent shopping activity on their account. Each victim was approached by either a phone call, text, or email. The texts and emails provided a telephone number for the victims to call.

In three of the cases the victim was directed to purchase one or more gift cards at area big box stores, and then provide the gift card numbers to the scammer.

In another case, the scammer told the victim that he could track where the fraudulent Amazon shopping was coming from by following the victim’s Venmo activity. All the victim had to do was send two “test” Venmo transactions to a person known to the victim. That known third-party was to then send the money back to the victim. When the victim’s friend initiated an “instant transfer” the money was never returned to the original bank account.

Four cases alone account for $17,099 in financial loss to victims.

Amazon’s website states “Amazon will never call you to ask you to purchase gift cards to unlock your account or ask you to provide sensitive personal information like your social security number, tax ID, bank account number, credit card information, or Amazon account related information like your mother's maiden name or your password.”

It is important for community members to know that gift cards are like cash. If you pay someone with a gift card or provide the gift card pin information to a scammer – most likely you will not get the money back.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a similar scam is asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at (775) 785-WCSO.

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The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.

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