Shopping online is convenient – and when the festive season arrives – it also means you can avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a great time for online scammers, says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET South Africa.
To avoid falling prey to online shopping scams, here are a few things you can look out for this season.
Watch out for
- Offers that are too good to be true: If you see deals that are too good to be true it’s because they probably are. This is an easy way for scammers to get you to divulge your private and/or financial information by selling non-existent goods.
- The many disguises of ransomware: The December holiday is peak season for online scammer to profit. To avoid being one of the victims, keep up to date on their latest tactics. For example; ransomware can be delivered in the form of an invoice, as was the case in last year’s Locky Ransomware. Remember, education is one of the best forms of defence.
- Buy from well-known, reputable stores or sellers: Some scammers set up highly elaborate and genuine looking websites. Don’t be fooled and do your due diligence. Read the online views; ask around in forums; and if you’re buying high priced items check the seller’s credentials in their country of origin.
- Use buyer or payment protection: No payment method is impervious to fraud. But, some methods are safer than others. Credit cards are a good means of payment when shopping online, because banks keep a close eye out for fraudulent activity and charges. Most banks have a zero-liability policy on their credit cards that protects cardholders against credit card-related theft and fraud. So, if you are unfortunate enough to have been scammed, you can alert the card issuer to dispute the charge and get it reversed quickly.
- Pay securely: Check to see the site is secured – look for web addresses starting with https. This ensures your payment information being sent in the transaction is encrypted and can’t be intercepted and stolen.
- Install and antivirus solution and keep software up-to-date: Keep your operating system and software on your devices up-to-date. This can help prevent malicious software and hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in your system and causing havoc.
This article was published in partnership with ESET.