Adele Chandler is an Amazon Prime member. She uses the subscription to shop as well as watch movies and television shows online.
“It's so convenient to order things. Amazon Prime on television is available. So I decided to sign up for Prime a few years back,” said Chandler.
In April Chandler signed up for an online network television channel to watch shows online. Six days into the seven-day trial period, Chandler decided to cancel. She logged onto her computer and tried to log into her Amazon account. The password was invalid. She changed her password but a notice popped up stating that she needed to proceed using two-step verification.
“I got another screen that said you have two step verification you need to put in your code,” said Chandler. “I didn't even know what two step verification was. So I didn't have a code.”
Chandler requested a new code. That’s when she noticed the phone number associated with the account was not hers.
She called Amazon.
“The customer service people you know said, ‘OK, your account has been compromised,” Chandler told NBC 7 Responds.
The problem: Chandler said only account specialists and the fraud prevention department can change the two-step verification.
“The people at the call center said they were not allowed to connect a customer to the account specialist people nor are they allowed to connect the customer to the fraud people,” she said.
Chandler said she was stuck. She canceled the credit card that was tied to her account. But she said the hacker had still been able to use the account, and in one case managed to get $100 worth of gift cards after the scammer returned an item they had ordered using Chandler’s account.
“I couldn't do anything and I couldn't even close my account,” said Chandler. “I had decided well I just won't have Amazon then I'm just going to get rid of the whole thing. You have to be able to get into your account to close the account.”
Short of taking Amazon to court, something Chandler said she had pondered, she had few options.
That’s when another idea came to mind.
“I was completely stuck and I just decided you know I'm going to write a letter and I'm going to send it to NBC 7 Responds Team because I need help.”
Chandler contacted NBC 7 Responds. We reached out to Amazon. One day later, Chandler said an account specialist contacted her. The employee restored Chandler’s account and also issued her a $50 gift card so that she could order something and make sure she received. It worked.
Chandler said she’s back online.
“There was nothing else for me to do. I guess I haven't thought of hiring an attorney for heaven's sake. So who wants to take on Amazon? So I am absolutely thrilled with Channel 7 and I'm so happy to tell my little story.”