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.
Here are a few things to watch out for:
1. Offers 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.