The email smelled as bad as week-old fish: It was a screenshot of a $1,000 cellphone I had supposedly bought on Amazon.

I quickly checked my Amazon account. No purchase was recorded. Then I checked my credit card account. Ditto.

This was clearly a scam, and the real action was the “Amazon” order number and phone number, with a Philadelphia area code, included on the email. I dialed the number.

The man who answered sounded unprofessional, but he was all business: He wanted to know my credit card information to “verify.” I asked him how he got my email. Agitated, he repeated his demand for a card number. When I told him I knew he wasn’t legit, he hung up.

I had been caught up in one of the largest ongoing scams on the planet….

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