The Better Business Bureau of northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan is warning consumers that competitive sales among major retailers this Prime Day (June 21-22) also means more chances for scammers to capitalize on the buzz and trick shoppers.
According to regional BBB President Dick Eppstein,, tricks to watch out for include:
• Phishing scams that appear to come from a popular retailer. Fake emails – phishing – during busy shopping times, such as Prime Day or Black Friday, are common. When you are make 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.
• Unsolicited emails, texts or phone calls. They may claim you have a free gift waiting for you or explain there is a problem with a delivery, and all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. A recent area phishing scam begins with Amazon calling to “fix” an issue with your account. They’re simply trying to steal your credit card information. Often, the “Amazon” caller claims he needs remote access to your computer to correct a problem. Don’t let them in!
• False advertising and phony websites. When searching online or browsing social media, watch for ads that point to scam websites. Con artists often create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. But look more closely at the URL and you’ll notice that the domain name is slightly different. For example, instead of Popularstore.com, the URL might be PopvlarStore.com or PopularStoreOnline.com. A store will not misspell its own name.
Always make sure websites use the correct spelling of a business name and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers. If a company claims to be selling the hottest item of the year at a super low price, it’s probably a scam.
Protect yourself from Prime Day scams by:
• Bewaring of fake lookalike websites. Always check the website’s URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information, and read online reviews.
• Not believing supposed professional photos. It does not mean it’s a real offer. Scammers often steal photos off other websites, so don’t believe what you see.
• Making 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.
• Being 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 too-good-to-be-true low prices.
• Paying 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 gift or money cards, wire pay (like Western Union or Money Gram) or other non-traditional payment methods.
When in doubt, call BBB at 419-531-3116 or 800-743-4222.