I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about scammers right now, I worry more and more Aussies are falling victim to scammers who are harnessing the latest technology and also preying on our high levels of trust to quite simply rip us off.

Sadly, one of the most common types of scams I hear about, and receive myself on a regular basis, are Impersonation Scams.

While you might first think Impersonation refers to pretending to be someone in your life – and they certainly do that – the most common impersonation scam attempts to use the good name of some of our biggest businesses both here in Australia and globally to trick you.

Bad actors impersonating Amazon is high up the list when it comes to these scams, and while the process is rather simple, there are people falling for this all the time.

Imagine this, your phone rings. It’s most likely an Aussie landline number, perhaps a mobile, and when you answer you hear a message saying you need to verify a recent purchase at Amazon of $299. The amount is irrelevant, it might be a small amount, or high amount – they try it all.

You’re then prompted to press a button “if this was not you” – and of course, that’s the first big hurdle scammers are wanting you to jump.  You might then be asked to provide your bank account or credit card details, or perhaps even install an app on your phone or computer.

For those people they call who are Amazon customers, there’s a potential someone will worry their account has been compromised.   Then for people who do not have an Amazon account they might worry their credit card has been scammed and used on Amazon.

What happens next is a downward spiral into the scammers either getting into your computer to obtain your personal details, or just simply obtain your payment details to then go off and begin a spending spree of their own.

It’s heartbreaking to think this happens, but it does.

It might be Amazon, Microsoft, Telstra, the scammers pick the big names so we are instantly set to a level of possible trust.

I’ve also written a guest blog post for Amazon Australia about this same thing, we hope that the more we talk about this, the greater the awareness in the community.  Please share this post, and the one on AboutAmazon.com.au with your mates and your family, it could save them thousands.

We can’t say that these companies never call you, they might, for various reasons, but they most certainly would never call you to ask for personal information like your credit card details or account passwords.

Scammers may not want your money directly too – they may be simply fishing around for more information about you, so be alert to anyone asking for your mother’s maiden name, or your date of birth.

Australia’s ScamWatch is doing everything it can to collate the scams going around, and educate people, but we need much more awareness about these scams. That’s why we need to be willing to talk openly about the scams we get, and the scams we fall for too – don’t be ashamed, it’s happening to a lot of your fellow Aussies.  You sharing your story will help others.

Fortunately, there is work being done to crack down on these scams.

Recently Amazon, Microsoft and the Central Bureau of Investigation in India have taken action against perpetrators of these kinds of scams.  Just a month ago several raids were conducted across several states in India where call centres were setup by bad actors to impersonate Microsoft and Amazon customer support.

If you receive a suspicious call, email or SMS that you think could be a scam, do not just ignore it if you’re savvy – report it.  Head to ScamWatch to let them know, and then for Amazon Scams report anything suspicious to Amazon directly. If you’re not an Amazon customer, you can report the messages to reportascam@amazon.com.

This article produced with the support of Amazon Australia, teaming up to raise awareness this Scams Awareness Week.