Watch out - hackers are targeting consumers with phishing attacks this Amazon Prime Day

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With Amazon Prime Day just around the corner, the cybersecurity firm Tessian is warning that hackers will try to leverage the event to target bargain-hunting shoppers with phishing scams.

The first ever Amazon Prime Day was held on July 15, 2015 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Amazon's website. The event has continued annually ever since though this year it has been moved to October 13 and 14 as a result of the pandemic.

According to Tessian, it is likely that hackers will use Amazon Prime Day 2020 as an opportunity to flood shoppers' inboxes with fake deals and offers in an attempt to trick them into downloading malware or sharing their payment information and account details.

The cybersecurity firm highlighted the threat posed to retailers by phishing during peak shopping periods in its report from last year titled “Cashing In: How Hackers Target Retailers with Phishing Attacks”. According to the report, 68 percent of IT decision makers at UK retailers worry their brand will be impersonated by hackers during the holiday shopping season while one in five said that phishing poses the greatest threat to their retail organization in the period leading up to the holidays.

Prime Day phishing attempts

As more consumers have turned to online shopping during the pandemic, Tessian's experts predict that more phishing scams will occur this year during Amazon Prime Day than they have in past years. 

Tessian CEO Tim Sadler explained how cybercriminals often try to piggy-back on Prime Day and other big shopping events in a press release, saying:

“Popular shopping days like Amazon Prime Day create the perfect environment for hackers’ phishing attempts. Consumers are expecting to receive more marketing and advertising emails during popular shopping periods, and this makes it easier for cybercriminals to ‘hide’ their malicious messages in people’s noisier-than-usual inboxes. Attackers can also leverage the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals, using them as lures to successfully deceive their victims. Throughout this year, we’ve seen cybercriminals “piggy-backing” on high profile events to make their phishing attacks as convincing as possible. We can expect similar tactics this Prime Day, with hackers impersonating Amazon in their emails and supposedly providing people the deals they are seeking.” 

To avoid falling victim to phishing scams this Prime Day, Tessian recommends that users check the sender of email to verify that it's a legitimate email address, check for spelling or grammar mistakes, avoid opening links and attachments in emails from unknown senders and avoid responding to any emails with a sense of urgency or deadline. Finally, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you're interested in finding out the best early deals, check out our Prime Day 2020 guide which will be updated as we find new deals throughout the event.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.