Guest Editorial by the Better Business Bureau
This year, Amazon isn’t the only retailer rolling out discounts for Prime Day (June 21-22). Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, just to name a few, are running competing sales. But more deals mean more chances for scammers to capitalize on the buzz and trick shoppers.
Better Business Bureau warns shoppers to be wary of emails, phishing scams, misleading advertisements, and lookalike websites. Phishing increases during busy shopping times, such as Prime Day or Black Friday. When you are making a lot of purchases, it’s easy to lose track of exactly what you bought and where you shopped. That makes you more likely to fall for a phishing scam posing as a big-name store.
Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls. These messages may claim you have a free gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. One recent phishing email claims to be Amazon calling to fix an issue with your account. This is a way for scammers to get your credit card information, account login details, or remote access to your computer.
Beware of false advertising and phony websites. When searching online or browsing social media, watch out for ads that could point to scam websites. Con artists often create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. But when you look more closely at the URL, you’ll notice that the domain name is slightly different (i.e., Instead of Popularstore.com, the URL might be PopvlarStore.com or PopularStoreOnline.com).
Always make sure websites use the correct spelling of a business name and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers. Also, use common sense when evaluating deals. If a company claims to be selling the hottest item of the year at a super low price, it’s probably a con.
Be careful 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. Here’s one example involving game consoles.
Pay with a credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, you will be able to contest them through your credit card company. Be very wary of any retailer that asks you to pay by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards, or other nontraditional payment methods.