By: Poelano Malema
Black Friday is a few days away.
Thousands of companies will be offering their customers massive discounts, which is great news for consumers. But don’t let your excitement cause you to become a victim of Black Friday scams.
Several scams pop up during the period, with some criminals going as far as running fake sales to rob people of their hard-earned cash.
Consumers need to be particularly vigilant online because unlike purchasing something in-store, they won’t be able to physically see the item.
With the lockdown resulting in many people doing their shopping online, Wendy Knowler says cybercriminals are having a field day.
She says people often ignore the signs.
“We have become normalised to shopping online and for many of us our guard is down, and people aren’t looking for the signs. They aren’t seeing the red flags,” she says.
She says consumers should not be too trusting. The consumer journalist adds that you should not pay for anything before verifying the company.
“Before you pay any invoice that has been emailed to you, however trusting you are, wait until the working hours,” says Wendy.
“Don’t go by the number on the invoice, check phone number on the internet,” says the expert.
She adds that you should also check the comapny’s banking details. Many banks have the verification option where you can check who the account belongs to before making the payment.
Heino Gevers says consumers should also check if the website they are buying from is secure.
“Always type a retailer’s address into your browser to avoid being redirected to a fake site. And be on the lookout for the all-important https:// (as opposed to http://). The “s” stands for secure – so that one little letter is crucial to your online safety.”
He adds that it is a wise idea to have a separate account for online purchases.
“Every time you enter your credit or debit card details into an online form is a chance for those details to be intercepted by cybercriminals. Set up a dedicated online shopping account with strict credit and overdraft limits, with only enough money to buy what you need. Alternatively, use the e-bucks, Discovery Rewards, and Avios points you’ve been collecting all year.”
The expert warns against suspicious emails.
“Keep track of retailers you’re expecting a shipment from. If you receive an email that contains tracking information from a courier service or retailer you haven’t used, do not click on the tracking URL. This is a malicious link disguised as something familiar. The same goes for attachments – these could contain malicious code. Again, rather type the courier service website in manually to avoid being sent to a fake site.”
Image courtesy of Pexels/ @Max Fischer