Top tips for safe online shopping this Black Friday

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

However, because most retailers get manic on this day, consumers tend to shop online, which leaves cyber criminals lurking as they try their best to target these deal-hungry shoppers. Cyber criminals are lurking online and will try their hardest to target deal-hungry shoppers like you.

This US tradition of crazy online specials has firmly taken hold in South Africa, with marketing around the sales period having tripled since 20151. This year it is expected to be the biggest Black Friday ever, with South African online spend forecasted to grow to over R53 billion by 20182 – that’s a lot of clickity click, shopity shop.

Wynand van Vuuren, spokesperson at King Price, shares his top tips for shopping safely online: 

Shop from a secure computer

Are you using a secure internet connection? We hope so! Never send private information out on public computers that could contain malware, and always make sure that your anti-virus software, operating system, and web browser have the latest security versions installed, before hitting the cyber-shops.

Go with the guys you know and trust

And if you don’t know them, investigate the retailer before you buy. Sites like Amazon have many different sellers on their site, so check the seller's feedback and rating to make sure they’re legit.

Spot the padlock

Never buy anything from a site that doesn’t have ‘https’ at the start of the URL. The ‘s’ stands for secure. There should also be a padlock icon in the address bar at the top, or the status bar at the bottom, depending on the site.

Don't fall for too-good-to-be-true deals

Often those really insane deals can point to a counterfeit product, or even contain links to a malicious website. Bottom line: if it seems too-good-to-be-true, it probably is. 

Plan ahead and don't be rushed

Shopping mania is real, but keep a clear head, know what you need, have a list of sites you want to check out, and take the time to double check the URL. It might look like a close copy of a genuine retailer, but a missing letter or wrong ‘.com’ would mean it’s a fake site. 

Watch your bank accounts closely

Keep track of all your purchases. Print out orders, receipts, email confirmations, and product descriptions to keep ready to use if you spot anything weird. And continue to monitor your bank account and credit card statements closely to ensure unauthorised transactions don’t happen. If you find a transaction that doesn't match your purchases, your account may have been compromised. If so, contact your bank immediately.

Use different passwords for each site, seriously

Passwords should be as long as possible and contain a mix of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, punctuation and symbols. F@tH0mFluffy ticks all the boxes.

If you’re shopping from a tablet

Rather use a vendor’s app than a mobile browser. Vendors have more control over their own apps than they do over mobile browsers.

Be cybersure

In just a couple of clicks, you can be hacked, phished, scammed, and easily seduced into opening infected attachments. You could even be held to ransom.

Now, dust off that credit card and go spoil yourself.

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