Online fraudsters are placing expensive orders through hacked Amazon accounts before stealing the goods as they are delivered.
The cyber criminals are exploiting the retail giant’s Prime Now service, where customers can get items like games consoles and smartphones sent to their home almost instantly.
Crooks access an unwitting victim’s account, buy what they want using that person’s stored payment details and then lie in wait for the courier outside the delivery address.
Often the thieves get their hands on the parcel before the customer realises they have been targeted. Amazon Prime Now members can choose delivery within an hour of ordering for £6.99, or free delivery with a choice of two-hour windows.
One customer, Oliver Webb, expressed anger after his mum was a victim of fraudsters in May. He tweeted: “Mum’s @amazonprimenow hacked & call to cancel order. Said they couldn’t cancel & instead delivered items to thief.”
Another victim, 40, told the Sunday Mirror she became suspicious when she received an email welcoming her to Amazon Prime, which she had not signed up to. She explained: “Within three minutes of the first email at 11.45am, I started getting other messages thanking me for shopping.
“It said I had bought a PlayStation for £279 and then an iPhone for £420.
“They had tried to buy two iPhones and two PlayStations but only the PlayStation went through.
“When I tried to get through to the call centre, they didn’t seem to understand it wasn’t me ordering the goods.
“I tried calling five times but couldn’t get them to stop the orders, which were going to be delivered to my parents within a couple of hours.”
The victim added: “My dad saw the scammers, sitting down the road in a car, dart out to try to intercept the courier when he pulled up. They ran off when he walked outside, but it could have turned nasty.”
Amazon contacted the victim three days later, urging her to dispute the dodgy purchases with her bank. She had already stopped the card. She added: “It’s really poor customer service. If they have an immediate service they need to react more quickly to problems.”
Amazon apologised to our reader and offered a £50 gift voucher. A spokesman warned: “From time to time, customers may receive emails appearing to come from Amazon, which are actually false emails.
“These can look similar to real Amazon emails but often direct the recipient to a false website where they might be asked to provide information such as their email address and password. The best way to ensure that you do not respond to a false or phishing email is to always go directly to your account on Amazon to review or make any changes to your orders or your account.”
It comes as official statistics showed there were six million frauds and cyber crimes committed in England and Wales in the past year, with one in 10 of us being victims. They included one million online shopping scams.
About 1.4 million suffered computer virus attacks, with 650,000 emails and social media profiles hacked.