Online shoppers warned to watch out for cyber criminals on Black Friday

13 November 2019 - 06:00 By Naledi Shange
Online shoppers have been warned about a possible rise in fraud during the Black Friday period.
Online shoppers have been warned about a possible rise in fraud during the Black Friday period.
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

As some shoppers choose to avoid the malls over Black Friday and instead turn to online shopping, so will cyber criminals.

This is the warning from security awareness company Popcorn Training, which has called on consumers to be extra alert and cautious before entering their card details for online retail deals.

Before clicking 'check out', we want you to check if you’re being alert,” said the company.

Using the letters of "alert", the company gave these tips to staying safe:

  • A: Activate two-factor authentication on all banking transactions. This means that you need to input a one-time password that is sent by your bank (via SMS or e-mail) to confirm the transaction. It adds a level of confidence in case someone tries to make a purchase with your card details because they would also have to have access to your mobile phone or e-mail account.
  • L: Look for signs that the site you are shopping on is secure. Before you type your card details into a website, look out for a small padlock symbol in the address bar (or elsewhere in your browser window) and a web address beginning with "https" - that "s" stands for "secure".
  • E: Enter a web address yourself and don’t access it through links. Links in e-mail messages, text, instant messages and pop-up ads can take you to websites that look legitimate but are not. Type in the address yourself to be sure.
  • R: Review all transactions, check your statements and SMS notifications to ensure that all debits from your account are familiar. Use credit cards, not debit cards for online shopping. Credit cards offer better fraud prevention and consumer protection.
  • T: Treat your details with care. Don’t save your card details on your computer or in your browser. Be selective as to where you input your details, avoid shared devices and always make sure your security software is up to date.

Meanwhile, Cresta Shopping Centre in Johannesburg, which was last month hit by a robbery, said customers' safety is their greatest concern over Black Friday.

Cresta’s management said not only had it upgraded its security detail ahead of the shopping rush, but they intended to run Black Friday specials for every single Friday of November.

“Creating opportunities for customers to have more time to shop leading up to the official Black Friday means better deals on more products and shoppers can ultimately imagine – and shop – more,” said Virginia Bester, the mall's general manager.

"For retailers, it means better stock management, so no one misses out. In these difficult economic times, saving is top of mind."