It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Jingle Bells is already playing in the shopping malls. Luckily, we do not have to rush to the shops and face the extreme shopping frenzy, because with online shopping it has never been easier to pick, check out and pay.
While you click from one purchase to the next, I’d like to share some important tips with you to ensure that you keep your credit card details (and those lovely gifts) safe.
Tips to stay cyber safe
E-commerce is a multi-million-dollar industry and your money is making its rounds through this system. Keep the following in mind when doing online shopping:
- Copy and paste your credit card details instead of saving it to the site. Attackers want to gain access to online retailers to get credit card details. While the trusted online retailers encrypt the data and have strict security measures in place, you can go one step further to secure your details. Do not save your credit card details – rather do once-off purchases and retype them again the next time you shop.
- Prepay instead. We are talking about virtual prepaid cards, which you can top up by using your current credit card. If this virtual account gets cleaned out, you only lose the currency you have stored and can apply for a new prepaid credit card with no additional bank charges and admin.
- Make resetting your password difficult by requesting the services and sites you use to not allow password resets to be done telephonically. People can easily get enough information about you to share with a call centre agent, who could easily fall for the attacker’s charm and wit. Additionally, use a different password for each site i.e. I love online shopping in Dec = IlosiD
- Ensure that you take note of all your banking notifications and alert your bank if you notice anything suspicious.
“Attackers want to gain access to online retailers to get credit card details. Do not save your credit card details – rather do once-off purchases and retype them again the next time you shop.”
- There are many scams this time of the year, so ensure that the marketing emails you receive are from legitimate sources and double-check credentials before you proceed with any transactions.
- Secure websites have a lock icon and the URL will start with https where the “s” represents “secure”. If the site doesn’t have this, then you should double-check if you are using the legit site. Be aware of spelling errors like fMb.co.za – we easily miss this and the fake site will look exactly like the real version.
- Don’t do online shopping and banking in a free Wi-Fi zone because it is not secure. Also, remember that there are security cameras and other people who might be watching when you enter your passwords.
- Watch out for fake apps and read the terms and conditions before you give your digital signature by accepting it.
- Also, ensure that you use a secure or trusted computer/device to make the purchases. It is too risky to use a public machine at an internet café.
- When asked to fill in your details, only provide what is necessary and leave the rest. It’s better not to share all your personal and private information.
Enjoy your shopping spree on the cyber highway and have fun while navigating your way safely through the different brands.
Rianette Leibowitz, Cyber Safety & Digital Parenting Thought Leader, Brand South Africa Play Your Part Ambassador and founder of SaveTNet Cyber Safety
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