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Black Friday: Shoppers warned of record payments fraud

Nov 22 2018 05:45
Carin Smith

As shoppers search for the best best online deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they run the risk of criminals looking to steal their passwords, fake deals offered in fake sites, and potentially unsafe connections. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday will likely see record levels of payments fraud this year, warns Gabriel Hopkins, vice president of fraud product management at analytics company FICO. Meanwhile nearly two-thirds of organisations, including online retailers, saw severe exploits targeting their networks during the past quarter, according to Doros Hadjizenonos of network security company Fortinet. 

Hopkins and Hadjizenonos, together with Carey van Vlaanderen, the CEO at ESET South Africa, provided some tips to help keep attackers away as you hunt for the perfect online deal. 

1. Make sure you use a safe connection

Not every internet connection is secure enough to be used for online payments.

Hadjizenonos says public Wi-Fi sites are a haven for criminals looking to intercept your connection and use it to steal passwords, banking or credit card information, and other personal data.

Someone advertising "Free Wi-Fi" may be connecting you to the Internet through his device, which means he can see and capture all the traffic moving between you and your online shopping site, bank, or social media accounts.

2. Be wary of fake deals

If you receive a Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) offer that seems too good to be true, there is a good chance it really is.

Mobile safety app Namola issued a statement cautioning consumers to beware of "rock-bottom prices".

"If a website offers something that looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Compare prices and pictures of the merchandise on similar websites. Rock-bottom prices could be a red flag that the business doesn't have those items in stock," it said. 3. Always check the URL

If possible, opt for respected and trustworthy brands that offer a secure shopping environment and can help you solve possible issues.

But don't let your guard down even when you see a well-known brand. Fraudsters can create fake websites that look almost identical to their original counterparts. To avoid this, keep a watchful eye on the URL. Fakes are easily identifiable as they use different internet addresses than the official pages they are trying to mimic.

4. Use credit card or secure payment services

FNB encourages consumers to be vigilant of websites which request their online banking details when making payments. The bank urges customers to report fraud and cancel a lost or stolen card immediately.

Making a purchase online is  generally safer with a credit card or secure online payment service, as this doesn't involve any of the money you keep in your checking or savings account.

With Black Friday one of the biggest shopping events of the year, meanwhile, Visa has warned that data breaches are a growing trend. 

Check your card transactions frequently, using online banking and your monthly statement.

5. Manage your mobile devices

Modern mobile phones are always actively searching for the wireless devices you usually connect to, says Hadjizenonos.

There are tools available to criminals that can detect the name of the devices your phone is searching for and then pretend to be one of those devices. Which is why, when you are away from home you should always disable the auto-connect service on your device.

Hadjizenonos says only download apps from legitimate application sites and never allow installations from "unknown sources".

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black friday 2018  |  black friday  |  sa economy  |  retail


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