We tried Amazon Key. The strangers it let in our door wasn't the worst part.
Your Amazon Account Isn't as Secure as You Think It Is
There's no way to sugarcoat it — even if you create long, unique passwords and limit the amount of info you post online, your digital security is still at major risk. A breach in just one account can lead to a devastating domino effect.
One Amazon user learned this the hard way when a clever scammer used the shopping site to steal his identity. Former software developer this week how he was hacked not once but three times through Amazon's customer service feature.
Springer first noticed the breach when he received an email thanking him for contacting Amazon, which he had never done. After a little digging, he found out a thief had impersonated him and supplied just his email address to the agent — and gained Springer's real address, phone number, and payment information in return. He then managed to get a new copy of Springer's credit card directly from his bank. Even though Springer repeatedly asked Amazon to stop giving out his personal details, the criminal later obtained another address and credit card through the same scam.
Now the frustrated customer is gone for good. "At this point, Amazon has completely betrayed my trust three times," . "I have done absolutely everything in my power to secure my account, but it's hopeless."
It might sound like a rare occurrence, but a former WIRED editor Mat Honan fell victim to the same scam through Apple's customer care — except the hackers then used the popular "Find My" tool to remotely wipe his laptop and phone, permanently deleting baby pictures of Honan's child. "If all the photos from the first year and a half of my daughter's life are ultimately lost," he wrote, "I will have only myself to blame."
A subsequent WIRED investigation then found similar gaps in Amazon's tech support. The staff even successfully tested the trick themselves — highlighting the issue overthree yearsbefore Springer's breach.
In both examples, all the criminals needed was an email address, which is troubling if you use the same one to log in to all of your accounts. Plus, both Springer and Honan are tech experts, meaning just about anyone can be vulnerable to a similar scam.
To protect yourself, guard any personal info and use several email aliases across shopping sites. Most importantly, make sure you are notified if (or when) you get hacked. Turn on text and email purchase alerts through your bank and credit card company so you can report any issue right away.
Video: SHHHHH! - Data Privacy/Security - Part 3 - Apple vs. Google vs. Amazon Smart Home Comparison
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