Contact 2: Scammers using ‘Press 1’ tactic to phish for more information

Contact 2

ST. LOUIS – Cyber Week is over for bargain hunters but cyber scams are just getting started.

After a record-breaking $60 billion in Cyber Week sales, some people might not remember what they ordered. Confused consumers are the perfect opportunity for seasonal scammers.

The calls are coming at a rapid clip from companies that certainly sound familiar, but it’s not Apple or Amazon at all.

“We’re seeing an uptick in complaints; will be called ‘business imposter complaints,’” said Monica Vaca, associate director at the Federal Trade Commission.

Instructions like asking people to stay on the line or “Press 1” are actually a portal for scammers to access your personal information.

“What they’re trying to do is throw you off guard,” Vaca said.

The FTC posted some of the recordings on their website as a warning.

In one version of the scam the caller says they’re from Amazon and tell you about a problem with your account, like a missed delivery or an order they can’t fulfill. Another recording said it’s Apple and warning of a problem with an iCloud account.

In both scenarios, you’re prompted to “Press 1” to speak with someone, but that person is just phishing for personal information like account passwords or your credit card number.

The FTC warns: don’t “Press 1,” don’t call back any number you’re given, don’t give out your personal information, and hang up.

“They will not help you solve your problem,” Vaca said. “When you get one of these calls, what you should do is stop and go on your account yourself.”

If you do have a legitimate concern about your account, you should initiate contact by turning to a website or customer service number you know is real.

The same rules apply to email correspondence. Be on the lookout for messages disguised as legit. How do you know they’re not? Spelling errors and return email addresses that are not valid.

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Contact 2 has resolved consumer complaints totaling millions of dollars over the years. Those cases have not only brought peace of mind to the consumers who asked Contact 2 for help, but also shed light on allegations of deception and wrongdoing levied against businesses, contractors and government agencies.

Our team focuses on gathering the facts about what happened. The process involves seeking out both sides of the story. It’s not always what consumers want to hear, but we have an obligation to be fair to the entity accused of causing the problem. Working to clearly understand the details is an important part of the job. Sometimes these cases can be resolved quickly. Other times, Contact 2 will spend weeks or months getting to the bottom of the problem. We appreciate the patience of those who’ve asked us to help them.

While dealing with the complaints of individual consumers is a big part of the job for Contact 2, we’re also dedicated to informing consumers of the latest scams, rip-offs and fraud schemes. Technology has made it easier than ever for criminals to target consumers. Contact 2 monitors reports of this activity around the world to help arm the public with tools to protect their personal information and hard- earned money. We share that information with consumers on-air and online.

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