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A Nasty $4.6k Amazon Scam

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Welcome to this article. I’m glad you’re here. These articles are about sustainability, philosophy, psychology, history, religion, evolution, etc. You can also subscribe here for other content.


This article has nothing to do with sustainability. It’s about the scam I recently got into; it cost me $4.6k.

I’m sharing my experience here because I want to warn people not to make the same mistake and lose $.

In retrospect (it only happened last week), it’s a bit embarrassing but back then I had tunnel vision.

Here are the exact steps of what happened during and after the scam:

  • On Tuesday 17.1. around 4pm, I got a call from “Amazon” (Australian landline number)

  • The guy on the other end had an Indian accent and I heard background voices, it sounded like a call centre

  • He said that there was some suspicious activity on my account and asked if I purchased (or authorized a purchase of) a $229 coffee maker from Germany. I said no

  • Then he asked me to check an email he’d just sent me

  • I checked the email and there was an email from Amazon with the $229 coffeemaker purchase in my name with my details. That was the “suspicious” activity on my account

  • He asked me if I still live at the same address and spelled my address to me (58 Flinders St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010). I said yes

  • Then, “to verify my account,” he named three books I recently bought from Amazon (this made me believe he was legit)

  • After confirming that I still had the same VISA card ending ***1947

  • He said that he can “help” me and cancel that $229 coffeemaker order but he’ll need my authorization to process the cancellation

  • I said yes please

  • He then asked me to read the full card number (St George VISA debit card ***1947). This was needed for the order cancellation

  • I did it (stupidly)

  • Then he said that to process the cancellation, I need to read him the codes from text messages I’ll receive on my mobile. I immediately got a text message with a code and, stupidly, read it to him. (These SMSs were coming from St George Bank. The scammers were at this point logged into my online banking)

  • Then the same happened twice more (three messages in total; I can’t remember now why three and not just one)

  • Then he said that the $229 transaction has been cancelled, it’s all good, but that I should change my Amazon password and stop using that card

  • Finally, before we hang up, he said that whilst the transaction has been cancelled, there was a $100 deposit that has been taken from my card already, and if I had another card they could “return” this to (by me reading the card details to him over the phone.)

  • I don’t have a second card so I couldn’t give it to him, but I told him that I’ll ask my brother for his card so that they can send this $100 there and that they should be in touch tomorrow


  • I logged into my St George online to see if any Amazon deposit had been taken from my card.

  • I didn’t find it but I noticed three transactions (two for $1,850, one for $900) just made to India.

  • I also noticed that $10k was transferred from my Term Deposit account to my Complete Freedom account (by the scammers, so that they can take the money out)


  • I then rang St George and told them what happened

  • They said that first, they’ll cancel my compromised VISA card, and my online banking and that I should reset my phone to factory settings, before calling them again (I did all that)

  • I called them again the next day and spoke with a few reps from various departments (customer service, disputes team, application fraud team, and digital fraud team). They said that I need to wait until the pending transactions are cleared and then call them again to have them “recalled.”

  • I rang the Bank again three days after the scam (when the transactions were cleared)

  • They lodged disputes for all three transactions and gave me three DT numbers. This was the customer service team lodging the disputes, they said that they only lodge them, that the disputes team actually investigates the disputes themselves and that it’ll take about ten days, and that I should give them at least three days to investigate before following it up

  • But I rang the disputes team immediately anyway because I was worried about not getting money back if I waited

  • When I explained the whole scam to the disputes team, they said that they can’t do anything because these payments were authorized (by me), that St George “no longer holds charge-back rights” and that if they go to VISA, VISA will reject them.

  • I asked them if there is anything I can do

  • They said to contact the Dept of Fair Trading and “lodge the complaint against the merchant”

  • I rang the Dept; they referred me to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority AFCA

  • I rang AFCA; after explaining the whole thing, the guy said that AFCA is a kind of ombudsman and that they have powers to push the banks to help clients in various kinds of situations (including mine). He told me to fill out an official complaint through their website and attach any evidence (SMSs, transaction numbers, screenshots, emails).


It's gonna take time to hear back from AFCA. I don’t expect to get anything back but who knows?

I also reported the scam to the police because the scammers called me from an Australian landline number so that at least they can trace that number and disrupt that activity.

I hope this was of value to anyone out there and wish you all good luck and awareness when navigating our amazing, plentiful, but sometimes treacherous online waters!

Thanks for reading.


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