Black Friday is but a few days away and consumers are preparing to hit the online shopping strip.
As with any increased spending period, consumers are urged to remain vigilant and alert when transacting at a point of sale or online.
We’re in the festive season and are feeling carefree, but that does not mean that criminals and fraudsters have taken the day off as well.
The South African eCommerce market’s growth of 29% contributed to the worldwide growth rate – also of 29% – in 2020.
Online shopping is one of the fastest-growing retail platforms in South Africa, and thousands of consumers opt for online shopping to avoid long queues at malls. It therefore makes sense to update and familiarise oneself with the necessary safety features and measures while shopping.
After all, you would not enter your card pin with someone leering over your shoulder while paying in a shopping queue, so why expose yourself similarly online?
“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,” said Nelisa Zulu, Head: Card and Payments South Africa at Standard Bank.
According to a report by SABRIC, Mobile Banking fraud accounted for 59.7% of digital banking crime incidents reported to SABRIC in 2020.
Therefore, as you begin hunting through Black Friday as well as Cyber Monday deals this year, keep the following five tips in mind to make sure you don’t fall victim to any cyber trolls:
1. Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks
Cyber criminals know how to thwart unsecured Wi-Fi to gain access to the information you send over it. It is therefore better that you eat into some of your data to make sure your financial information is protected.
2. Use complex passwords for online retailers
Having strong, secure passwords is essential to keeping your online identity and accounts safe from hackers. Always include a mix of letters, numbers and special characters to makes sure it’s not easy to crack into your online platforms.
Standard Bank also has a once-off strong authentication process available on its mobile app that is designed to strengthen and protect your digital profiles.
3. Never click on a suspicious link
Scammers might target you with emails that contain promotional links which appear to be from a legitimate retailer.
This is an attempt to get your attention and trick you into clicking on a link which carries malicious malware that can steal your personal information. Avoid clicking on any unsecured links.
4. Be on the look out
If you forget your bank card somewhere while shopping, rather cancel it immediately rather than go back to look for it.
While you might find your card, you are left with the risk that someone took your card details to use for online fraud.
5. Ditch unsecured online stores
There are thousands of online stores, and with this form of shopping becoming so popular, it is easy to fall into the trap of purchasing through an unsecure site.
Always look for a padlock on the website’s URL to make sure it is safe.
Similarly, in the real world:
How to guard your PIN
- Memorise your PIN – never write it down or tell anyone what it is.
- If anything makes you suspicious while using an ATM, cancel the transaction and remove your card.
- If you think your PIN is no longer a secret, change it at the ATM or your nearest branch.
“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,” concludes Zulu.