Threat Alert: Watch out for the new Barbie scam

Scammers are taking advantage of excitement surrounding two blockbuster movies

When two blockbuster movies are scheduled to premiere the same weekend, it can generate a lot of excitement among movie fans and grab the attention of the media. Scammers are also quick to jump on the bandwagon.

This week’s ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert found there are plenty of schemes around the movies “Barbie” and Oppenheimer. Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, says people should stay alert.

“Big movies like Barbie getting a lot of attention in the press and all the buzz about the double feature of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ are a good reminder that scammers will utilize anything that gets the attention of the public,” Clay told ConsumerAffairs. “Scammers take advantage of big events like these, and we’ve seen the name ‘Barbie’ appear in several Walmart scams ahead of the release of the movie and as the retailer launches a new Barbie collection. 

 Barbie-related Scams 

  • Between July 1-July 19, the Trend Micro research team identified 1,490 Barbie-related scams in the US. 

  • The top five states being targeted are California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania, with over one-third of the victims are from California.

Walmart Survey Scam 

  • Trend Micro's research team identified scammers impersonating Walmart to inform victims that they won the lucky draw and must declare for the ‘prize’. Scammers then ask victims for their personal and credit card information. 

  • The top five states being targeted are California, Florida, Texas, New York and North Carolina. 

The thing to remember here is that you can’t win a contest that you didn’t enter. Laws are very clear about that.

Being asked to pay a fee in order to collect a prize is yet another dead giveaway. If someone asks you to pay a “fee” or “taxes” on your prize upfront, there is no prize. It’s a scam.

Amazon Prime Day Scam 

  • As the research team has identified over the last few weeks, in order to get victims’ personal information, scammers pretend to celebrate Amazon Prime Day and then invite users to sign-up and to get free shipping benefits.  

  • The top five states being targeted are Washington, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts and California. 

 Yes, Prime Day is in the rearview mirror but scammers are still using it to try to swindle unsuspecting consumers. We expect that scam will fade out in the coming days, only to make a return appearance around Black Friday. 

Shipping Scam 

  • The Trend Micro research team found scammers pretending to be the Australia Post, telling victims their parcel delivery failed, and asking victims to update their addresses and credit card info. 

  • The top five states being targeted are New Jersey, California, Florida, Connecticut and Virginia. 

Okay,  unless you are expecting a package from Australia, why in the world would you bite on this scam? Apparently, scammers believe there are enough people in the U.S. who will.

Travel Scam  

  • From April 1-July 16, Trend Micro found 2,244 travel-related scam URLs, which increased by 4.17% compared to the past weeks.  

  • Trend Micro identified 3 fake login pages and payment information pages, with over one-third of the victims are from Oregon (32.73%). 

  • The top five states being targeted are Oregon, Virginia, Washington, Pennsylvania and Illinois 

There is no indication that travel scams will let up anytime this summer. Consumers are traveling in record numbers, especially by air.

When flights get canceled passengers must scramble to make new travel arrangements. If they click on a sponsored Google link to find help, it could mean trouble.

Here are some more scams targeting consumers this week:

Adobe Sign Phishing 

  • Trend Micro's research team identified scammers impersonating Adobe Sign to send customers a phishing email that asks them to review and sign up for revised contract documents.  

  • Trend Micro detected 126 logs on July 17. 

American Express Phishing 

  • Trend Micro's research team identified a phishing American Express email which requires victims to validate their American Express Account.  

  • Trend Micro detected 253 logs on July 14. 

 OneDrive Phishing 

  • Trend Micro's research team identified scammers impersonating OneDrive to invite victims to get victims’ files via a fake link in the email body.  

  • Trend Micro detected 212 logs on July 9. 

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