Phishing scams increase during busy shopping times, such as Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. When someone is making a lot of purchases, it’s easy to lose track of exactly what the person bought and where they shopped. As a result, it makes the person more vulnerable to a phishing scam posing as a big name store.
The BBB also warns people to look out for unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls. These messages may claim someone has a free gift waiting for them or that there is a problem with a delivery. All that is needed for the scammer to succeed is for the person to click on a link and personal information is given up.
One such recent phishing incident involved someone claiming to be Amazon, calling to fix an issue with the individual’s account. This is a ruse, according to the BBB, to gain access to credit card information, account login details or remote access to an individual’s computer.
Shoppers must also be aware of false advertising and fake websites. When searching online or browsing social media, the BBB advises keeping a lookout for ads that point to scam websites. Con artists often create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. However, upon looking more closely at the URL, typically the domain name will be slightly different.
The BBB suggests always making sure websites use the correct spelling of a business name, have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers.
Additionally, the BBB states people should use common sense when evaluating deals. If a company claims to be selling the hottest item of the year at a low price, it is most likely a con.
Other tips to avoid online shopping scams for this upcoming Amazon Prime Day:
- Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer. Scammers often steal photos off other websites.
- Make sure the website is secure. Look for the “https” in the URL (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and a small lock icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only “http.”
- Be careful when purchasing sought-after products. If something is sold out everywhere, don’t be tempted by a seemingly great deal. Scammers often trick shoppers by offering the most popular products at low prices.
- Pay with a credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with a credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, an individual will be able to contest them through the credit company. The BBB advises to be aware of any retailer that asks to pay by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards or other non-traditional payment methods.
For more information on scams and how to avoid them, click here.