COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s the prime time to shop online as Amazon Prime Day is underway.
The discount holiday takes place July 12 and 13, and while shoppers are gearing up for big deals, consumer advocates are warning: Buyers beware — of scams.
Fraudsters use big shopping holidays to take advantage of consumers and get you to give up your personal or financial information.
Steven Pope, the founder of My Amazon Guy, said they may even use the Amazon logo to make fake emails — including fake links — seem more legitimate.
“Don’t click on weird links in your emails because they can track the URLs you’ve clicked, and then they can send you to a ‘real-looking’ website and act like you’re at the right source,” Pope said.
If you enter your Amazon login credentials on one of those fake pages, cybercriminals can change your password, lock you out, then make purchases at your cost.
To keep your account and your money secure, go directly to Amazon’s website or use the company’s official app to purchase goods.
“Always buy from the direct source when possible,” Pope said.
He recommended being cautious when buying sought-after products that are often sold out. Scammers can trick shoppers by offering popular items at low prices.
If you do make it to check-out, pay with a credit card. According to the Better Business Bureau, it offers more protections, like the ability to fight any shady charges that might turn up.
Finally, if you suspect something sketchy, Pope said to say something about it.
“Contact Amazon if you have an issue, let them know what you’re seeing, forward them the receipts, forward them the email you received, tell them about the phone calls and the scams you’re receiving, so they can do something to help out the next guy,” said Pope said.
Amazon isn’t the only retailer rolling out discounts, according to the BBB.
Walmart, Target and other big-box stores are running sales because of too much inventory ahead of the new school year. Be careful that you don’t get so caught up in the excitement that you fall for false advertisements.
The BBB offers more advice for shopping online here.