The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is cautioning consumers to be aware of potential scams on Amazon Prime Day this year.
Each year, the online retail giant rolls out massive discounts on Prime Day, which is on Monday, June 21, and Tuesday, June 22, with other brick-and-mortar stores such as Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s joining in with sales across the board.
However, according to the BBB, “more deals mean more chances for scammers to capitalize on the buzz and trick shoppers. Be wary of phishing scams, misleading advertisements, and lookalike websites.”
Scams to look out for, the BBB cautioned, include phishing scams that appear to come from a popular retailer, as such scams increase 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,” they noted. 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,” they added. “These messages may claim you have a free gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with a delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information.”
The BBB also cautioned of false advertising or phony websites online or on social media.
"Con artists often create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer,” they said. “But when you look more closely at the URL, you’ll notice that the domain name is slightly different. 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,” they cautioned. “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.”
Tips from the BBB to avoid online shopping scams on Prime Day include:
- Beware of fake lookalike websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information, and read online reviews;
- Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer. Scammers often steal photos off other websites, so don’t believe what you see;
- 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.” It is NOT secure;
- 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 non-traditional payment methods.
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