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Geared up for Black Friday? Here's how to stay safe online

16 November 2021 - 22:31
Stores say they are expecting good sales extending into the Christmas shopping season on the back of the November 26 Black Friday promotion. Here, a shopper leaves a store in Canal Walk, Cape Town, during last year's quiet, pandemic-hit Black Friday.
Stores say they are expecting good sales extending into the Christmas shopping season on the back of the November 26 Black Friday promotion. Here, a shopper leaves a store in Canal Walk, Cape Town, during last year's quiet, pandemic-hit Black Friday.
Image: Esa Alexander

It is almost time for the annual retail frenzy, Black Friday, so here’s how to protect yourself from being cyber conned and spending more than you can afford.

“Great prices, avoiding queues, shopping from the comfort of your home, as well as getting goodies delivered to your door are just some of the benefits that come with shopping online, but there’s a catch.

“The number of fly-by-night online stores that pop up and disappear with consumers’ money is astounding. Trying to get a good deal could end up costing you thousands,” said Susan Steward, spokesperson for Budget Insurance.

Last year, bargain hunters favoured online shopping — a trend noticed globally and not just in SA.   

Here are some of the tips on how to avoid being a victim of online crime.

“Screen the URL, fake website addresses are usually off by a character or two, so make sure it’s the exact URL. Click on the padlock — in the address box. The drop-down menu will show you the security information of the website. Some fake sites have been able to replicate the padlock icon, so don’t stop here.

“Use a website checker with sites like Google Transparency Report are there to check the legitimacy of websites. Trust your browser, having antivirus software and an updated browser allows for it to warn you when you’ve entered an unsafe site and block you from going any further,” said the insurance company.

Consumers are urged to read reviews on the websites they are interested in buying from.  

Also important, “plan what you can afford to avoid being tempted into spending more than you have. The last thing you want is to go into December with debt and start off the new year on a poor financial footing. Focus on what you need first, compare prices,”  

Steward said while the squeeze on your wallet might push you to spend money, keep in mind that for most, “there is a long gap between the December and January pay days. Make sure that you have all the essentials to start off 2022 on a good foot first, that you’ve paid your bills — maybe even settled some debt — and ensure that you have a good reserve fund in place, before considering the ‘big spend’.”   

TimesLIVE


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