Thursday, July 18, 2024

BBB’s Safe Shopping Tips for Prime Day and Summer Sales

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Shoppers love the deals they can snag during Prime Day (scheduled for July 16-17 this year), and many other major retailers join in on the trend around this time of year by offering mid-summer savings.

When you’re on the hunt for deals this summer, make sure you’re extra aware of scammers who might try to use these sales to take advantage of shoppers.

During busy buying seasons, scammers often use phishing messages, fraudulent websites and fake social media ads to get consumers’ money or personal information. Online shopping scams are consistently among the riskiest scams reported to BBB.

Scammers also frequently impersonate Amazon and other major retailers. Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s and Best Buy all made BBB’s list of the top 20 most impersonated companies in 2023 – with Amazon clocking in at #2.

To get ready for Prime Day and other sales, it’s a good idea to brush up on common scams so you know what red flags to look out for. Check websites carefully, especially if you’ve never shopped there before. If something feels off, pause before you pay.

Follow these tips for safe online shopping during Prime Day and other summer sales:

  • Keep an eye out for impostors. Scammers imitate major retailers’ websites to steal personal information or money. Before buying anything, double check that the web address is spelled correctly. Remember that scammers can make very convincing lookalikes – professional photography or logos don’t necessarily mean the website is legitimate.
  • Don’t click on a link in an email to get to Amazon.com or any other retailer’s website. Links from phishing emails can have malicious attachments or take you to illegitimate websites. Instead, type the website directly into your browser.
  • Check website security. Make sure your connection to the site is secure. The URL should begin with “https://” and there should be a lock icon to the left of it.
  • Stick with familiar retailers. Many major retailers have mid-summer sales, and illegitimate vendors might also try to cash in on the summer sale trend. It’s safer to stick with brands you know and trust, but if you’d like to try a new store, check it out at BBB.org before you shop.
  • Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Scammers often advertise hard-to-find products at outrageously low prices to lure people in.
  • Shop with a credit card. It’s easier to dispute charges you didn’t approve or get your money back if there is a problem. Keep receipts and order confirmations so you have a record of your purchases.
  • Protect your personal information. Legitimate retail websites may request your payment information, name or phone number to create an account or make a purchase. They should not ask you for private details like logins to your financial accounts, your state ID or your Social Security Number – that’s a red flag.
  • Watch for post-Prime Day phishing. Scammers have been known to try to capitalize on the hype by sending phishing emails or texts after Prime Day, asking you to redeem reward points you supposedly accrued while shopping. These emails can look very realistic – so be skeptical. Don’t take unsolicited messages at face value, and don’t click on any links.

Visit BBB.org for more online shopping tips. If you think you’ve been impacted by a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker℠.

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