Don’t Let Amazon Prime Day Become Scam Day

Excited for the buying extravaganza that is Amazon Prime Day Oct. 13-14? Online scammers are, too. Here's how to shop securely.

Are you excited about Prime Day, Amazon’s upcoming two-day shopping extravaganza on October 13-14?

Internet scammers of all types are excited, too.

They’re the same scammers who look forward to tax time, elections, “startling” new coronavirus news, and any other sensational or overhyped event that might drive people into a state of excitement, distraction, and vulnerability.

Same Scammers, Different Day

Just like they’ve done for years, scammers will litter your email inbox, your text messaging apps, your social media feeds and anywhere else they can reach you with come-ons that look like they are from Amazon but end up taking you to a dubious website set up to take your money or your credentials.

The number of new monthly phishing and fraudulent sites created using the Amazon brand has spiked since August, the most significant since the COVID-19 pandemic forced people indoors in March, according to a report from the anti-fraud folks from Bolster Research.

So indeed, they’re coming.

Luckily, the very skills you’ve built up while enjoying your company’s ongoing security awareness activities this Cybersecurity Awareness Month will serve you well as you bat away the inevitable Prime Day scams.

Tips to Stay Safe

Visit the Amazon You Know and Trust

If you’ve got the Amazon app or you’ve already bookmarked the site, start there. If not, type in the URL—it’s https://www.amazon.com–and be sure that you see the little lock next to the URL so you know that site traffic is encrypted.

Use Secure Logins

You’ll want to have a unique, complex password for any site that has your credit card information, and you’d be wise to set up multi-factor authentication. You’ll go to Your Account > Login & Security to set this up.

Be Skeptical

There are going to be good deals on Prime Day, I’m sure, but don’t get so excited about what looks too good to be true that you don’t take basic precautions. Amazon has a known and tested way for you to buy from them, so if someone is offering a unique buying method—like a third-party website—it’s likely fake.

Watch Out for Unexpected Communications

Amazon lets you decide how they will communicate with you (Your Account > Communications and content) so they’re not going to send you text messages if you didn’t set that up. Don’t respond to any communication outside expected channels. In fact, your best bet is to log-in to your account to verify any issue, never to respond directly to an email, text message, or phone call.

Pay with a Fraud-protected Credit Card

Many credit cards protect you against online fraud. Use one of those.

My Own Prime Day Deal

Here’s my little Prime Day deal: these are tips that you can apply to all of your online shopping, all year round. No extra charge.

 Of course, there’s another way to avoid Prime Day scams. You could just turn away from the capitalist carnival of consumption and go for a walk. It’s much harder to scam someone with the promise of a 75%-off coffee maker face-to-face.

CONFESSIONS OF AN AWARENESS NERD

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Check out more content from Tom Pendergast on his blog Confessions of an Awareness Nerd.

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