What is Prime Day?
Prime Day is a huge online shopping event organized by Amazon. Like Black Friday and other yearly sales, it’s an opportunity for thousands of sellers on Amazon to slash prices and offer limited-time deals.
This year, Prime Day is taking place across July 12 and 13. It’s a major event around the world, especially in America, where this year more than half the population is planning to take part.
However, it’s also an opportunity for scammers and online fraudsters to try and part excited consumers from their money. And according to new research by NordVPN, that might not be hard to do.
What does the data show?
NordVPN’s researchers found that 6 in 10 Americans do not feel confident that they could identify an Amazon scam or fraud. And that’s all the more worrying when you consider that 1 in 5 Americans have already been scammed at least once in the past.
Part of the problem may be that most Americans trust Amazon to protect their account information when shopping online — 64% of the public, to be precise. That’s 8% higher than Walmart (56%), in second place.
How do Amazon phishing scams work?
Amazon phishing scams usually involve a criminal sending an email to a potential victim, disguising the email as an official message from the company. Using Amazon’s trustworthy reputation as cover, they then try to extract money or valuable data from the target.
For example, a scammer might contact someone, pretend to be from Amazon, and tell them that their account has been locked as a security measure. To unlock it, the victim just needs to click a link in the email.
If they do this, two things could happen. The link might automatically infect their device with malware, or it might take the victim to a page that has been designed to look like part of Amazon’s website. Here the victim will be prompted to sign in to their account, and in the process they’ll expose their login information to the hacker.
Phishing attacks come in various shapes and sizes, but they’re sure to spike on and around Prime Day.
How can you protect yourself this Prime Day?
You deserve to be able to shop online without the threat of cybercrime and fraud. While no magic bullet can keep you completely safe this Prime Day, you can start taking steps right now to raise your cybersecurity levels dramatically.
- Be vigilant with emails. If Amazon or another company contacts you and urges you to click a link or give it private information, it’s vital that you double-check the sender’s authenticity. Look for red flags like spelling mistakes, an unusual sender address, or a sense of urgency (“If you don’t follow this link to reset your password within 12 hours, your account will be deleted!”). Hackers often try to rush you into clicking a link by creating artificial urgency.
- Read the reviews. When shopping on Amazon, it’s important to read the reviews on any vendor you plan to buy from. Which? has reported that fraudulent sellers often pay for fake reviews, so filter the customer feedback from worst to best, and check for recurring complaints among the one-star reviews. A few bad reviews are normal, but if you see multiple people flagging up a potential scam, that’s not a good sign.
- Use a VPN. With NordVPN on your device, you can use Threat Protection, a powerful feature that limits the risks of malware infection. This tool can check a website against a list of known malware distributors, and if it perceives a potential threat, it will stop you from accessing the risky site. This means that even if you click on a malicious link in a phishing email, you have an extra line of defense.