Cybercriminals gear up online shopping scams, phishing emails for annual event
Each year, Amazon Prime Day scams result trigger a flurry of phishing emails, malicious websites, fake customer service calls, and other online shopping scams. Anyone who shops on Amazon should never consider themselves immune from Prime Day scams. As holiday shopping ramps up each year, cyber criminals turn their attention toward targeting consumers with their various shopping scams and money-making schemes.
Amazon Prime Day scams are cleverly crafted to steal money, payment card numbers, and sensitive data from shoppers who are in simply looking to snap up limited time deals. Fraudsters use a variety of tactics including phishing emails, spoof websites, counterfeit goods, and fake customer service phone calls to fool consumers. All of these are designed to trick the user into divulging information the cybercriminal can use to steal money, harvest login credentials, or deploy malware.
This year’s Prime Day is once again expected to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year for the online retailer.
Remember – If you are ever concerned about the authenticity of customer service phone call or email that supposedly is from Amazon, go to the website and check your account and communications from there. Never click on a link in in a suspicious email. Do not respond to any email with payment information.
Amazon Prime Day is not the only holiday shopping event kicking off this week. Target Deal Days and Walmart’s The Big Save event will both be offering discounts and offer scammers more opportunities to pry the money out of shopper’s wallets.
Shoppers should be wary of these Amazon prime day scams
When consumers are busy making multiple purchases for the holidays, it’s easy to lose track of how many purchases you made and from what website. Fraudsters take advantage of busy shoppers knowing that they may not carefully examine the contents of an email or the links in it before acting without thinking.
Common Amazon Prime Day Scams
Bold fraudsters call Amazon shoppers using phone numbers harvested from data breaches and public information. They often tell the victims that there is a problem with their order or credit card to conjure up a reason why they need to be told the payment information over the phone.
- Order confirmations for high-priced purchase you didn’t make
Scammers send order confirmations via email with fake receipts for purchases the email recipient did not make . Often the dollar amount listed in the fake purchase receipt is high so the reader is startled and worried about how they can pay for such an expensive item.
- Delivery notifications with links to package tracking
In this shopping scam, the consumer gets a fake delivery notification with a link to a tracking number for a purchase they did not make. The goal is to get the reader to click on the link. Clicking may do something simple like verify that the email address is valid so it can be used in a future online shopping scam. Alternatively, the link may send the reader to a harmful website that downloads malware or steals credit card numbers.
- Return notifications
Return notifications is another type of shopping scam. Once again, the goal is to get the email recipient to click on a link to validate an email address. Clicking on the link may send the reader to a malicious website which can steal their Amazon login information, address, or payment card details.
- Suspicious account notifications
Another type of scam email notifies the reader of supposed suspicious account activity. This may apply to their Amazon account, their Prime credit card, or another payment method. The goal is to get the email recipient to act without first vetting the contents of the email. If the user clicks on the link to download the email attachment their computer and payment information may be compromised.
- Prime Card account issues
Prime credit card account issues are another common Amazon Prime Day scam. These fraudulent notifications inform the reader that there is an issue with their Amazon Prime Card and that victim needs to click on a link or call a phone number to resolve it. If the victim follows the directions in the email, the hackers steal their payment card information.
Amazon Prime Day scams are not the only holiday shopping scam. It’s true cybercriminals ramp up their efforts to focus on anything they think will bring them the most profit for their effort. They gear up for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire holiday shopping season.
But online shopping scams can happen at any time of the year.
Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day is an annual 48-hour sales event. Last year, the company sold more during this timeframe than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. The first-ever Amazon Prime Day occurred on July 15, 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Amazon’s website.
How to Protect Against Amazon Prime Day Scams
Be skeptical of unsolicited calls or emails. Fraudsters are very clever and design phishing emails and spoof websites to look very close to official Amazon messages and shopping experiences. Be sure that you are actually shopping on Amazon.com. If you have any doubt about the sender of an email simply go to Amazon.com and log into your account to look for any messages.
- never shop via links in unsolicited emails
- Use a form of Payment That Protects Your Money
- Look for poor grammar and spelling errors
- Never pay over the phone to someone who initiated a phone call or email
- Never pay by wire transfer or pre-paid gift cards
If you get a suspicious phone call or email, make sure to report it to Amazon’s customer service.