Take care when shopping online

The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service are warning citizens to exercise caution when shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November.

“We are all aware of the growing influence of technology and the growing interest in skipping long queues.

“The allure of online shopping is growing in South Africa.

“However, consumers need to be careful not to let Black Friday become a day for fraudsters,” SAFPS executive director Manie van Schalkwyk said.

He urged shoppers to exercise caution when shopping online.

One scam that is increasing in popularity is the use of fake websites designed to look like legitimate shopping sites.

The designers either trick visitors into entering their bank details or click on a link, which then downloads harmful malware onto their computer.

“This is a common tactic that the SAFPS has come across.

“Fraudsters look to harvest personal information using malware.

“The consumer only becomes aware they’ve fallen into a fraudster’s honey trap when they receive an invoice for goods that they did not purchase,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Fraudsters can also use malware to take control of a victim’s computer, gaining access to all their private information.

There are certain steps people can take to ensure they stay safe when shopping online:

1. Make sure to only shop on a retailer’s official site.

2. Ensure you pay using a secure, verified method such as PayPal or MasterCard SecureCode.

3. Inform your bank immediately if you notice any suspicious activity from your account.

4. Avoid shopping online over public Wi-Fi networks as these are popular targets for hackers.

“The reality of the world that we live in today is that consumers are migrating towards platforms which make their life easier,” Van Schalkwyk said.

“They no longer want to wait in massive queues to make purchases if it can be done in the comfort of their home.

“Consumers need to be vigilant.

“Know what you want to purchase, where you want to purchase it from and know how you are going to pay for that purchase.

“Vigilance is key,” he said.

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