BIG Black Friday Sale! 2020

Now that we got your attention!

Big sales attracts crowds, and these crowds (whether at a mall or while doing some online shopping) attract scammers. You need to take extra care when shopping online over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. There will be some bad people out there keen to relieve you of more money than you’ll save on a fridge or the new gaming consoles.

But while online shopping helps you skip the crowds at the mall, it can be a cybersecurity minefield. With the attack of Black Friday scams about to hit our inbox, how do we know if we are being scammed and how can we stop it happening?

The following precautions apply throughout the year, but it’s great to  remind ourselves of them every time the holiday season comes around.

In the rush to go buy our presents, it’s all too easy to miss a warning sign, or get complacent about online security.

Just remember: Tis the season for scammers and hackers.

  • Don’t click links in emails

Emails are the easiest way for the bad guys to get access to your identity or credit card information if they can get you to click on a link in that email. If you do get a tempting offer, rather go directly to the stores website by typing it into your browser. Hackers will often copy a shop’s sale or discount email and add a fake link into it asking for your personal information.

  • Don’t open attachments from retailers

Retailers will never hide their fabulous deals and offers in an attachment. This is generally where the hackers/ dodgy people hide malware. Remember that these criminals are impersonating as many people or companies as they can and thus will also try and make it seem like an email is coming from Fedex, Takealot or another shipping company. If you receive one of these emails with a tracking number for instance, instead of clicking on it rather go to the shipping company directly and track your parcel from there.

  • Avoid Pop- ups and Ads

Malware can be spread in many different ways, many of them in the form of a pop up ad. These ads all try and get your personal information or try to infect your computer with some form of malware where it either locks your computer or certain files and forces you to pay for their release (ransomware). Always go to the store’s website first, if its legit the deal will be there.

  • Beware of e- skimmers

Card skimming usually happens at petrol stations or ATM’s, but are not limited to these spots. This is where a device is installed that steals credit card information whenever you swipe your card. Cyber criminals can now install these codes on retailers websites to do the same thing when you checkout. To protect yourself, try using a 3rd party such as Paypal, PayU or Payfast if they allow it.

  • Be security Aware

Know what phishing scams are and how social engineering can be used to trick or manipulate you. Be careful, think before you click.

  • Safe WiFi

When shopping online, make sure you’re using a private Wi-Fi connection or your smartphone’s cellular network to browse the internet. Public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously insecure and could open you up to malware or hacking.

  • Diversify your password

I’m sure we have all been guilty of using the same password across all of our platforms at some stage. This is however a terrible idea because if one of your passwords get exposed, chances are they will be exposed for all of your apps and devices. It is always advisable to use unique passwords for your various accounts so that in the event of being phished, your other accounts would not be exposed.

  • Beware of gift card scams

Gift card scams have become very popular. Criminals have started to scan or write down the card numbers in store to drain funds before they are used or sold. If you are buying these in store, ensure that the card has not been tampered with. It is recommended to buy these gift cards online if you have the option.

  • Safe Websites

Ensure that the sights you are using have URLs that starts with https, the ‘s’ stands for secure. Double check the website address as the criminals like to swop out letters in a website address to mimic the real one.

  • Be wary of mobile apps

Fake apps have been used to scam and trick shoppers for years. Download apps from your app store only and look at the reviews.

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.

For more information on how to keep yourself, your business and your family safe online. Follow Cyber Angels SA on any of our Social Media channels

Written by: Robyn Bartlett