Before I say anything about what happened to me I want to reassure you that everything’s okay now.
Eileen and I were sitting in the parking lot at the library waiting for our books on hold to be brought to us when I noticed an odd text message. Ten minutes earlier it had said that someone had just charged an AQUAGLIDE Recoil Trampoline on my “card.” If not me I should click on this phone number.
I did so. The person answering told me that someone had hacked my Amazon account and applied for an Amazon credit card and charged stuff on it. I’m sitting in the car. I told him I needed to drive home and see what was going on. He said okay but not to hang up.
When I got home I could see I had received an email with the sub, “amazon.com, action needed: Password change attempt.” Note the little “a.” I didn’t notice this until later when Eileen did. I clicked on a link to change my password all the while talking to the con man on the phone. He gave me a new temp password which weirdly worked. I told him I couldn’t see any recent activity on my account. But he told me that the hackers are so clever that they would hide the notifications.
He asked if there was an Amazon store nearby probably knowing full well that there wasn’t one. I probably got it wrong but I thought he wanted me to go to an Amazon store inside a nearby Wal-Mart and talk to Amazon security people. I was supposed to stay on the phone and let him know when I was in the parking lot. He was adamant that I should not get out of the car.
When we were in the parking lot, I began to tell him the whole thing felt like a scam. After he told me that they had deposited $2,000 to my credit card and I was use that to buy four Amazon cards at Wal-Mart, I told him there was no way I was going to that.
He blustered (“Amazon is a reputable company worth millions!). He threatened (“You can hang up, sir, and take the next step into court”). He suggested I didn’t trust him because of his Indian accent. Finally I told him I was going to hang up.
I was worried about the Amazon account. But we went to our bank to make sure our account had not been hacked.
The banker was very, very helpful. After ascertaining that we hadn’t actually purchased gift cards, he checked out account and there was no evidence of it being hacked at the bank. He told us we were probably okay. In fact, he was relieved at how we had stopped following the man on the phone’s advice and came to the bank. He taught me that if fraud was actually being investigated there would be no sense of urgency. He said this kind of phishing is a big business in countries like India where there are office building full of people running these scams.
Oh, I thought. That makes sense.
I came home and successfully accessed my Amazon account (I hadn’t closed the window after logging in the the password from the bogus Amazon people. I instantly was able to change the password. So probably no harm done
Eileen’s credit card was in reality hacked recently. Our banker told us that once we had been hacked we would probably be targeted again since hackers to sell any information they get.
So it was a learning experience. I have been phished once before. I received an email from Rev Jen. Just like today’s hackers, the hacker had replicated Jen’s real email but put in an extra period. I didn’t notice the difference of the lower case A. But Eileen did.
Sheesh. I am feeling like a little old man who is a bit of an easy target. But I am incredibly relieved. On the drive to the bank I was fantasizing about getting a job so we would have money to live if we had been cleaned out.