Prepping for Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day on July 11th means too-good-to-be-true deals and special pricing.

As one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon relies on the power of the internet to reach a global pool of consumers. Their easy-to-use website, international shipping capability, and third-party vendor platform means a customer in any part of the world can safely and easily buy a product from someone in another corner of the globe.

However, online shopping from any site can mean navigating the murky waters of possible scams and frauds. In order to shop safely, customers need to know how to protect themselves from some common hidden dangers.

Building Your Account

A lot of companies require you to establish an account in order to shop on their websites. This typically involves your email address and a password. It’s important that your password is unique—meaning you don’t use it on any other site—and strong, which contains at least eight characters in a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

You might already have an Amazon account, but this Prime Day is an excellent opportunity to change your password. Changing your passwords on all of your accounts from time to time means that someone who steals or buys old databases of information online may be paying for an outdated password, keeping you safe while other victims lose access to their accounts. 

Paper, Plastic… or PayPal?

In the olden days, “paper or plastic” used to mean choosing paper bags for your grocery items or plastic sacks. Nowadays, it refers to your payment method: paper cash or plastic credit cards. Now, consumers have even more choices, like mobile payment apps, sites like PayPal, or stored credit cards.

As a competitor in the industry, Amazon doesn’t accept PayPal so that payment method won’t work. That means you need to decide how you’re going to pay for your purchases. That might sound like common sense, but there’s another consideration at stake: Amazon stores your credit card in your account for future purchases. Make sure you’re using a secured card and that you check your statement routinely for signs that someone might be committing fraud with your account. Some consumers have opted to have a single credit card that they use only for internet shopping, as well as using a card that has a very low credit limit in order to minimize the amount of damage a thief can do with their stolen account credentials before triggering an alert from their banks. 

Shipping Scams

Since they’re such a large retailer, it’s a safe bet that you already have an Amazon account. That’s why scammers love to send out phishing emails that appear to come from Amazon. You receive a phony but realistic-looking email saying there’s a problem with your order, or that some item you’ve never heard of has shipped, or that there’s an online receipt for your last order totaling an outrageous amount of money. Whatever ploy they use, the scammer’s goal is to get you to click the included link. But don’t fall for it…that link very likely contains a virus that will install on your computer. 

Remember, never click a link or open an attachment in an email without confirming it with the sender. If you’re in doubt about your account status, ignore the email and contact the company directly to find out what’s wrong.

Support the ITRC while you shop online with Amazon Smile!

Contact the ITRC for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.

Read next: It Only Takes Minutes for a Thief to Use Your Data

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