Amazon Prime Day period is on! Scammers are looking for new ways to cause havoc, and by no means does it mean the scammer is off on a vacation! Prime Day is meant a great experience, so you have to be very careful so that you don’t fall victim to be fooled by their next scam! Despite COVID-19 easing up, scammers are actually at their peak according to both The Motley Fool and AARP in these days, amid the return to more normal shopping experience, including Amazon Prime Days. The typical scammer looks for situations, instead of doing good for themselves, and getting a job–they waste their day dreaming of their next lick. They prey on people who are looking for the best possible deals, and cross that line after they are able to establish a safety zone and develop a trust with the victim. Any day like Prime Day and Black Friday, consumers will be out in full force–making it that much easier to hit their next target. With more targets for the scammer, you have to be very careful–You don’t want to be caught being part of that lick with a big chunk of your wallet missing! If you think you have been taken, never be a vigil ante and go after a criminal, call 9-1-1 or visit your police!
The ways they use Amazon Prime as bait:
- Claims to be a representative of Amazon, and developing a trust in your faith! Then they bait for your personal information.
- Offering a limited-time deal or stock-limited flash deal, that sometimes is even better than Amazon could do. Be careful though, all they have to do is cross that line of trust, to try to pry on your emotions.
- The sending of emails that claim to be from Amazon including attachments, photos, etc. that scrupulously and secretly install malware onto your systems.
- Texting your Android and your iPhone in order to render them to the mercy of the cyber-criminal. Claiming to be from Amazon, the cyber-criminal texts to gain on your trust.
- Amazon hyperlinks to third party sites, gaining your trust in order to get you to click links and/or open an attachments contained in texts. To make matters really worse, it is much harder because of the conversion of starting on a text and ending up on the web to trace down a criminal.
- Opening an email claiming to have a refund for you from Amazon. You know if you ordered something, so they prey on people who are vulnerable.
- The criminals masquerade as a payment provider or delivery company, associated with Amazon.
- Criminals lure you into the misinformation that you have won a contest, giveaway or sweepstakes involving Amazon that you never entered.
- The same of any of the above scenarios are true from any store, not just Amazon! Be very careful because there are plenty of not-so-nice scammers who are just trying to pry your pockets of your hard earned money.
The way to avoid getting taken is to not hit any link in a questionable email or text–or open up an attachment that you do not know the sender, and/or if you weren’t expecting it. According to Check Point Software, on the upwards of about 2,300 new Amazon-related domains had been registered within the last 30 days, representing about a 10% increase on the previous Amazon Prime Day. A whopping 80% of all these websites have been classified as a potentially dangerous threat, with over 45% hosting malware or phishing mechanisms installed. With all those high stakes involved, don’t be the next victim!
Largest Scale Scams of Today: Misrepresented Identity
Other current items to avoid as big events come back
- Misrepresenting who they are, representing an authority figure
- Claims that your computer is hacked and demanding ransom
- Threatening you outright, and then demanding money
- Fake merchants demanding payments through purchasing gift cards not from the store you are shopping, or a wire transfer
- Ticket scams
- Unemployment scams: watch your mail for government issued income statements to file your tax return
- Fake Cures: there really is no easy way
- Phishing attempts: watch your emails and texts
- Malicious “apps”: research and trust before going the the Play Store or Google Play, and especially manually installing with an .apk file
- providing a classic .exe file, .bat batch file or any other malicious extension that run software on your computer.
- Connections to public wi-fi: NEVER use a password
- Social media sharing: watch for cloned accounts
- Stating you are a winner in a lottery
- Selling puppies or stating finding a pup or kitty in your area–that don’t exist
- Utility scammers: Claims to save you money by switching utilities
- People claiming to be a merchant attempting to alter your payment method
- Doing an online pigeon drop: fronting sums of money that may but probably don’t exist–in order for you to identify, and front your real money in a scheme that is written so many ways, it would take over a bookcase to identify each way.
Scammers have been getting more and more desperate than ever. Always be careful. I suggest having the following in place before the onslaught of being attacked:
- Hire identity theft protection services
- Use a VPN
- Use a secured Wi-Fi, pay attention to invalid sign-in attempts
- Use a secured password generator
- Use multi-factor authentication provided by a record number of merchants, sign-ins to accounts online, banks, and secured transaction services
What To Do If You Think You Have Been Scammed
Report the incident immediately to any of the following agencies:
- If you think that a transaction on Amazon exists and wish to discuss it with a team member, go online to the Amazon website: Report Suspicious Emails, Phone Calls, Text Messages, or Webpages or if you want to talk to an agent, call 1 (888) 280-4331.
- Your local police station if you are at any monetary loss, especially if you have any recourse to issue a fraud claim, because they will need a police report number in order to initiate a claim.
- The Federal Trade Commission at FTC Complaint Assistant.
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you received a check by mail or if the mail was used as a tool to facilitate the fraud.
- Your state or local consumer protection agencies. Visit NAAG for a list of state Attorneys General.
- For online crimes involving cash, counterfeit checks and money orders, file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center which is a joint project of both the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center.
- If it involves a check or draft, notifying the bank whose name is on the check or draft.
- Notify the website or online service where you encountered the scammer (Online auction website or a job posting website), so they can be blocked from utilizing their services to further the scamming in the future.
- If it involved counterfeiting or other bank related criminal activities, contact FDIC.gov or call the FDIC at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
Never become victim to offers convincing you to do a transaction. If it sound too good to be true, it probably is. Keep your money in your wallet and safe! Lets make this year be a great Amazon Prime Day!
The Amazon Prime Bandit…Be Aware!!