The Black Friday phenomenon has now officially arrived in South Africa and will see shoppers across the country snapping up an array of great deals.
But while using your bank card to score a great Black Friday or Cyber Monday discount makes sense, these high-volume shopping times are also fraught with dangers.
According to Chris Wood, Executive for Card Issuing and Payments at Nedbank, it’s easy for shoppers to become so caught up in getting good deals that they let their guard down when it comes to card security.
“Many of the Black Friday deals require quick decisions if you don’t want to miss out,” Wood points out, “and this sense of urgency is exactly what gets cardholders into trouble, whether through overspending, neglecting basic card safety principles, or falling for scams.”
He lists some essential safety guidelines that every cardholder should follow to maximise the security of their debit or credit cards in the coming Black Friday frenzy:
Protect yourself online.
Remember that if an online offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before you checkout, do some research into the store and read other customer reviews.
Don’t click on links to go to shopping sites. Rather type in the web address yourself. That way you know you haven’t been redirected to a fake site. And before you enter your card or other personal information on any site, look for the lock image in the toolbar and “https” (the ‘s’ stands for secure) in the web address.
Also, make sure you have the latest, updated antivirus software on your device, and don’t ever do your online shopping or banking on a public or unsecured Wi-Fi network. They’re easy for fraudsters to hack into.
Never give anyone your card.
As consumers, we’ve been handing over our cards to cashiers and store attendants for so long now, it’s become a habit.
Modern card technology, means there should be absolutely no reason why you have to give anyone your card when paying. Rather ask for the point-of-sale terminal and insert, swipe or tap your card yourself.
That way there’s no chance of anyone getting any details off it. If your card allows it, try and stick to contactless (tap-and-go) payments.
This a very safe option because it is very difficult to clone a card remotely.
Never write down your PIN code, or share it with anyone.
The most secure place to store your PIN is in your head. If you’re worried you may forget it, put a clue or reminder on your phone that only you will understand; but never store your actual PIN on any digital device.
And remember, you should never, under any circumstances, share your card PIN, online banking PIN, passwords, or login details with anyone.
Modern technology allows you to integrate your card with your mobile device. This is not only very convenient, but it also adds another layer of security.
By adding your card details to the Nedbank Money App for example, you enhance numerous layers of security, including the biometric security built into the device itself, the secure app login, electronic notifications every time there’s a transaction, multi-identification verification options and the ability to permanently or temporarily freeze or block your card if you misplace it or suspect it may have been cloned or stolen.
Think before you act.
It’s not just fake retailers who will try to scam you this Black Friday, the heightened shopping activity also results in a spike in criminals who pose as bank representatives and try to manipulate cardholders.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, treat the call with suspicion. While it may legitimately be your bank, if the caller asks you for any of your personal or card details, it’s almost certainly a scam.
No bank will ever ask for you for these details in an email or over the phone.
Despite these security risks, Wood, says that it’s worth remembering that a well-managed and carefully guarded debit or credit card can in fact be a safer way to pay than cash thanks to their built-in protection measures.
“If your card is stolen, you can stop it, and the bank could well prevent fraudulent transactions on your behalf,” he explains, “but if your cash is stolen or lost, you have absolutely no way of preventing someone else from spending it.”
All of which means that paying for your Black Friday shopping with your card makes a lot of sense, as long as you allow ‘deal appeal’ to stop you from paying it safe.