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Amazon Prime Day scams
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Security & privacy

Scammers are getting ready for Amazon Prime Day – Here’s how to outsmart them

The most exciting date for many online shoppers is when Amazon’s annual Prime Day rolls around. Stretching over two days in mid-July, the online retail giant has some steep discounts on many items.

Sadly, it’s also a significant day for scammers. Prime Day marks an opportunity where potential victims might forego the “if it’s too good to be true” rule, falling into a scam trap.

But if you keep your wits, you’ll be able to spot them a mile away. Read on for classic scam signs during Prime Day and how to stay safe while shopping for bargains.

Here’s the backstory

Scammers are active throughout the year, but there are some “special” occasions where they ramp up schemes. Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Independence Day celebrations usually increase activity.

You can add Amazon Prime Day to the list of special occasions. Thieves are out in full force, looking to reel in victims with clever schemes relating to the massive sale event.

Last year, Prime Day was held in 20 countries. Members purchased more than 250 million items and spent just over $11.19 billion. The day also netted Amazon a tidy profit of $3.8 billion. So, it’s easy to see why Prime Day is a lucrative opportunity for scammers. 

Scams to look out for

Criminals use several methods to trick online shoppers into handing over their data or money. Many scams hit your inbox in the form of phishing emails, which is why you must be able to identify the signs that something is amiss. Here are a few red flags:

Confirmation of order

If you have never used Amazon or didn’t buy anything recently, it will be startling when you get an email thanking you for your purchase. This is a popular scheme, as it also works for people who did buy items recently. 

You might be tempted to click on the attachment to see the invoice (if you don’t remember buying anything) or to check that all is in order if you did. But that will be dangerous, as cybersecurity company Check Point Research found these emails to contain executable malware that steals your data.

Canceled items

In this scam, you’ll get an email stating that your Amazon order is canceled due to payment or other issues. The email contains an attachment that, when opened, installs malware on your device that can steal browser information and crypto wallet content or send sensitive files to the scammer’s server.  

Approving a payment

Assuming you made an Amazon purchase, scammers send an email saying that the payment method wasn’t approved. It contains a link that will supposedly verify the payment, but it takes you to a spoofed Amazon page intended to capture your details.

What you can do about it

Your best weapon against these scams is to be on the lookout for phishing emails. Last year there was an 86% increase in phishing emails relating to Prime Day. Also, there was a 16% increase in phishing URLs compared to the month before Prime Day 2021.

Last month, almost 2,000 new domains were created with relevance to the term “Amazon.” Nearly 10% of those domains are either suspicious or outright malicious. Here are some ways to stay ahead of Prime Day scammers.

  • Never reply to messages with personal information if you don’t know the sender or can’t verify their identity. Criminals only need your name, email address and telephone number to rip you off.
  • Don’t respond to a message if you receive a fraud or suspicious transaction alert. Instead, log in to your Amazon account and look for anything questionable.
  • Pay close attention to the URLs in emails or text messages. Check for slight changes in the letters, any misspellings or suspicious characters.
  • Don’t click on links and attachments that you receive in unsolicited emails.
  • Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!

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