Saturday, May 25

Black Friday: 7 Safe Online Shopping Tips to Remember Before Clicking ‘Add to Cart’.


Black Friday is fast-approaching, and as you start planning your shopping sprees on various online stores, it is imperative to ensure your personal data is secure (or, of course, embrace PriceCheck’s Black Friday hub to see all of SA’s best deals). Black Friday weekend is one of the biggest digital transaction hotspots on the calendar and opens us up to a multitude of cyber risks from potential criminals, such as malware, phishing schemes and data hacks.

Here are 7 ways to ensure that your online time is safe and secure online during Black Friday weekend:

online shopping

PriceCheck tip: Get a head-start on the Black Friday research by checking out the items you’re looking for on PriceCheck.

Tip #1: Look out for HTTPS

When shopping online, check that the URL begins with HTTPS, not just HTTP, or has a little lock icon next to it. This means that the site has security measures in place, ensuring that your browsing is encrypted and safe. Thankfully, PriceCheck vets all its merchants, giving you peace of mind with regard to who you shop with.

Tip #2: Avoid Saving Financial Info on Shopping Sites

Websites with SSL verifications can still be hacked. Online stores allow you to save your card information on your profile for future purchases, but if you can access this information, chances are that hackers can, too. It’s better to secure your financial details by removing them completely after purchasing.

Online shopping

Tip #3: Use Reputable Sites Only

When doing your Black Friday shopping, the safest bet is to stick with well-known online retailers with established payment gateways such as recognised card payments or PayPal services. Some sites might look legitimate, but could redirect you to a malicious payment gateway – always use reputable payment gateways with the necessary verification and security methods in place. Retailers requesting wire transfers is an immediate no-no.

Treat social media marketplaces with extreme caution. If you’re considering purchasing a product from a social media profile page, then check how long the business has been around, how many followers it has, and whether the customer reviews come from real accounts.

Also read: Black Friday Deals: Best Streaming Devices to Buy

Tip #4: Create Strong Passwords and Change Them Often

People often use the same simple passwords across applications, which puts your accounts at risk of malicious password-breaking malware. Never use the same online password: if one site gets hacked, your credentials can be used to access other sites. When devising a password, aim for something that is at least 12 characters long; a whole sentence or catchphrase is often more complex than a single word combined with numbers and symbols. A key vault can be used to store these passwords and even generate strong passwords.

online shopping

Tip #5: Enable Two-Factor Authentication When Signing In

Multi-factor authentication – or login approval – is a series of verification steps that create an additional measure of security over and above your username and password. When logging in, this security measure prompts you to have to identify yourself again – often with a one-time code sent to another device or platform, and more recently through biometric verifications such as fingerprint scans or facial recognition. Look out for two-factor authentication on shopping sites, and ensure this is enabled from your banking service provider.

Tip #6: Be Wary of Sharing Your Information for Marketing Purposes

When completing a transaction online, users are often prompted to avail their personal information, such as names and contact details, for marketing purposes – this could be abused and can be in contravention of the PoPia legislation recently passed in South Africa. Also, never provide personal information over the phone – no retailer, courier or bank will ever ask for your credit card details, pins or verification codes when shopping online.

Tip #7: Prioritise Using Credit Cards When Shopping Online

If you have access to a credit card, use that for your online shopping instead of your debit or cheque card. It is easier for your bank to refund you if you’ve been scammed and used a credit card to make the transaction. Transferring money directly from your account or using a debit card can make the refund process much more difficult.

If you’ve been scammed, react immediately. Your top priority is to contact your bank.  Your credit cards must be replaced, and you must change your security details on your bank accounts. In addition, you need to be quick about resetting passwords and maximising the security settings on your online shopping accounts.


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