Milwaukee, Wis. – Prime Day is always a hit, and Amazon isn’t the only retailer rolling out discounts, with many other retailers running their sales. More deals are great for consumers, and more people out shopping is great for businesses large and small. Just be careful, and don’t get so caught up in the excitement that you fall for phishing scams, misleading advertisements, and lookalike websites. Ensure you know what to look for when shopping for the big sales in July.
BBB tips for online shopping the July retail sales:
- Email phishing attempts that appear to come from a popular retailer. Phishing increases during busy shopping, such as Prime Day or Black Friday. When making many purchases, please track your purchase, where it’s from, and any tracking numbers.
- Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls. These messages may claim you have a gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. Know what you’ve opted in and out of before you click.
- Watch out for social media ads. You may come across lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. But looking more closely at the URL, you’ll notice that the domain name is slightly different (i.e., Instead of Popularstore.com, the URL might be PopvlarStore.com or PopularStoreOnline.com). Ensure websites use the correct business name spelling and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers. Also, trust your gut when evaluating deals. If a company claims to sell the hottest item of the year at a super low price, it’s probably untrue.
- Beware of lookalike websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information, and read online reviews.
- Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer. Photos can be stolen from other websites, so don’t believe what you see.
- Make sure the website is secure. Look for the “HTTPS” in the URL (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and a small lock icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only “HTTP.” It is NOT secure.
- Be careful when purchasing sought-after products. If something is sold out everywhere, don’t be tempted by a seemingly great deal. Scammers often trick shoppers by offering the most popular products at low prices. Here’s one example involving game consoles.
- Pay with a credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges are later, you can contest them through your credit card company. Be very wary of any retailer that asks you to pay by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards, or other non-traditional payment methods.
- After you buy, stay alert for scams. Be on the lookout for post-Prime Day offers.
For more information
Learn more about avoiding scam social media ads when shopping online. Read about scammers’ tracking code tricks.For more advice, read BBB’s tips on online shopping. If you’ve spotted an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker. Subscribe to BBB Scam Alerts for weekly updates about new scams. Receiving packages from Amazon that you didn’t order? See our article on Amazon brushing scams.Business owner? Get BBB Accredited.For an online version click hereFor more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2021, people turned to BBB more than 200 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 25,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.