Five tips for dodging scammers on Black Friday

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has provided advice to South Africans to ensure that they are not targeted by fraudsters or criminals this Black Friday.

“Online shopping is one of the fastest-growing retail platforms in South Africa. It makes sense therefore to update and familiarise oneself with the necessary safety features and measures while shopping,” said SABRIC.

“After all, you will not enter your card pin with someone leering over your shoulder while paying in a shopping queue. Why expose yourself similarly online?”

SABRIC said that fraud incidents across online and mobile banking apps increased by 75.3% in 2018, and for this reason, SABRIC recommends that consumers keep the following five tips in mind during Black Friday:

1. Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks

Malicious parties are skilled at using unsecured Wi-Fi connections to gain access to information transmitted over these networks.

Therefore, SABRIC recommended that consumers rather use their mobile data when they make any financial transactions while shopping away from their home Wi-Fi connection.

2. Use complex passwords for online retailers

“Having strong, secure passwords is essential to keeping your online identity and accounts safe from hackers,” said SABRIC.

The organisation said passwords should always include a mixture of letters , numbers, and special characters.

This makes it exponentially harder for malicious parties to crack users’ passwords and access their online platforms.

3. Never click on a suspicious link

Phishing is an ever-present security threat to users, and Black Friday is a golden opportunity for scammers to target South African consumers using this method.

“Scammers might target you with emails that contain promotional links, appearing to be from a legitimate retailer,” said SABRIC.

“This is an attempt to get your attention and trick you into clicking on a link which carries malicious malware and stealing your personal information.”

To avoid this, SABRIC recommends that users do not click on any links that they are not certain are secure.

4. Be on the lookout

“If you forget your bank card somewhere while shopping, rather cancel it immediately than go back to look for it,” said SABRIC.

It explained that even if you find your card, someone may have seen it first and taken your card details.

This would allow them to use your bank account for fraud – even if your card is in your possession.

5. Ditch unsecured online stores

With the rise of e-commerce, there are now thousands of online storefronts to choose from.

However, not all of them are secure, and shopping on an insecure platform runs the risk of exposing your personal or banking details to malicious parties.

“Always look for a padlock on the site’s URL website itself to make sure it is safe,” said SABRIC.

This padlock shows that the website has an HTTPS certificate – which means that it offers significantly improved security over websites that don’t have this implemented.

Be vigilant

Ethel Nyembe, Head of Card Issuing at Standard Bank South Africa also asked South Africans to be especially careful on Black Friday.

“We urge consumers to remain vigilant of scammers who are looking to steal your money and personal details in the real world and the virtual world,” Nyembe said.

“Black Friday is known to be one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, and it goes without saying that, just like the festive season, this is a busy time for criminals.”

“Be sure to take extra precautions to protect yourself, your purchases, and your personal information. If something seems suspicious, it probably is, so stay away from it,” Nyembe added.

Now read: The best PC hardware you can buy on Black Friday

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Five tips for dodging scammers on Black Friday