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Fraud and Scams continue to cost consumers millions and millions of dollars, every day. As a way to help educate members and prevent you from falling victim to these scams, we are providing this blog to illustrate the latest trends and tendencies that we see members fall victim to.

Fake Retailer Scams

This scheme isn’t something new, but one we’ve seen ramping up more and more this year. It’s where scammers are portraying themselves as representatives from large retailers and businesses like Amazon, Walmart, PayPal, and more.

The claim:

The notice that you receive may state that a large charge has come through on your account, or that your account has been deactivated etc. 

How the message is sent:

These spoof communications can come through as text messages, phone calls, emails, or even messages on social media, each of which can be quite convincing! In the message, after the claim, it prompts you to call a specific number to discuss the issue.

Where things go wrong:

Worried that there’s been a large charge that you didn’t make, or that your account has been deactivated, you call the number. The conversation may start out seemingly normal, but they eventually ease their way into the con by asking for unnecessary personal or financial information to ‘reverse the charge’ or to ‘reactivate your account'. This could be your social security number, driver’s license information, access to your electronic device, or your banking account numbers or login credentials.


Red Flags:

  • Receiving a message with a strange email address, text number, or odd URL link.
  • They ask for payment immediately, or they ask to access your devices or bank account.
  • They ask for payment in the form of gift cards.
  • They try to ensure you take action immediately before the call is even over.


Best Practices:

  • NEVER click on unsolicited messages or answer texts/emails you do not know or expect. This may install malicious software that can overtake your device and give fraudsters access.
  • Don’t call the prompted number; instead, look up a legitimate number for the retailer on their official website and talk with a representative that way.
  • If you do call the prompted number and you have a bad gut feeling, hang up.
  • Access your retailer account directly from their legitimate site or app that you always use to see whether the claim is true or not.
  • Never send gift cards as a form of payment. This is the #1 most common red flag we see, and be cautious when they want payment in bitcoin cryptocurrency.
  • Use common sense – do they ask for money first? Do they ask for cryptocurrency? Do they ask for access to your cellular device, or banking credentials?


If you ever feel as though you have fallen victim to a scam, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Fraud Department at CSE. We are committed to helping you avoid or recover from scams and can provide you with guidance and/or resources to help.


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