As shoppers rush to take advantage of what some are calling Black Friday in July, the Better Business Bureau is urging them to watch out for scammers looking to steal their money or personal information. The annual sale is a popular time for Amazon and other retailers to roll out deals on everything from Kindle tablets to Alexa gadgets to fall wardrobe staples. But more sales mean more opportunities for scammers to target savvy shoppers with phishing scams, misleading advertisements and lookalike websites, the BBB says.
During Prime Day, the BBB is warning consumers to keep an eye out for fake coupon codes, discounts and offers that could result in stolen credit card information or other scams. They also need to be wary of emails or ads on community forums asking for email addresses in exchange for coupons, the BBB says. That kind of info might end up in a database cybercriminals sell to marketers, which can then lead to scams like email phishing and identity theft.
The BBB is also advising consumers to take a closer look at any deal that seems too good to be true or has a sense of urgency. As with any online purchase, if your gut tells you something is suspicious, it probably is. The BBB is also recommending that customers use one credit card and carefully track shipping information for any purchases during Prime Day, and always visit the Amazon website from a saved browser or bookmark rather than clicking on a link in an email or text message.
Another important tip is to be sure the seller’s name and address match the information on their Amazon page. If it doesn’t, that should be a red flag, especially if the product has no reviews or very few reviews. Look up the seller’s name in a Google search to see what results turn up, the BBB advises. That’s an easy way to see whether there have been any complaints against them in the past or if they are legitimate.
In addition, the BBB recommends shoppers to stay safe by using a strong password on their Amazon account and enabling two-factor authentication when available. That extra security wall helps prevent hackers from gaining access to your account even if they manage to obtain your password. Finally, the BBB reminds shoppers to use a different password for each online account, and not recycle passwords that are used on other accounts or sites, including other online shopping platforms.
In addition, the BBB recommends consumers read reviews and choose items that are backed by manufacturers or other reputable sources. It is also helpful to read the return policy before making any purchase, and to check with the retailer if there are any concerns. This year, a number of major retailers are joining Amazon in the Prime Day fun this week with their own sales. Walmart, Best Buy and Target are among those putting their own spin on the event.