JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the biggest online shopping holidays of the year begins Tuesday. And while millions of people are trying to buy something cheap, beware that some will try to steal from people in too big a hurry to get a deal.
Amazon’s Prime Day is a two-day long event that promising some of the best deals of the year. And other major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy try to get a piece of the action by offering their own versions. And because of the pandemic, cyber-holiday shopping will be even bigger than ever.
Never ones to pass on an opportunity to deceive, scammers are trying to cash in, too.
One simple way you can protect your information is by making it as difficult as possible for scammers to hack your account. That means changing your passwords to be at least 12 letters and numbers and adding two-factor authorization to your accounts.
“Over the last seven months, COVID has driven more screen time than ever before in our lifetime,” Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said. “Fraudsters are no different. They’re going to take this heightened awareness of shopping and try to take advantage of y’all."
Cybersecurity expert Chris Freedman urges people who shop online to be vigilant.
“Do not click links in emails,” Freedman said.
Phishing emails are the easiest way for scammers to get all of your personal information and, most of the time you won’t even know it happened until it’s too late.
Cybercriminals impersonate Amazon, typically through email. For example, you receive an email that your order was canceled, there’s an issue with shipping or there’s a new deal you might want to know about.
“They’ll link you to a new page that looks just like Amazon’s login. They’ll say login failed (then) take you to the real Amazon site. You don’t know it’s happened, but they have your credentials.”
According to Check Point, its researchers have been removing an unusually high number of malicious domains designed to imitate Amazon. The number of registered domains that contain the words “Amazon” or “Prime" has doubled and 20% of those have been deemed malicious.
How do you know the email that looks like it came from Amazon is from an imposter instead?
“The first thing you need to do is look at the email address. If it’s not @amazon.com, don’t click on it. The second is: Never click on a link in an email. Always go to the Amazon website or the app on your phone and log in from there," Freedman said.
Also know that Amazon will never ask you to make a payment outside of its website and will never ask you for remote access to your device.
To be safe, a few hours after when you’re done shopping or the next day, check your credit card or bank statements and make sure you were charged for things you actually bought.
It’s not just phishing emails to watch out for. The Better Business Bureau warns of scammers calling people to day there’s an issue with their Amazon account. Again, that’s not how Amazon does business.