Be On The Lookout For Christmas Online Scams

    JN Group

    Online shopping has become popular in recent years because of the benefits it offers including convenience, lower prices and more product options. Just recently over the Black Friday weekend (the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States), for example, online sales reached record figures, as more people took advantage of big deals and price comparisons on the internet.

    With online sales spikes expected to continue through the rest of the holiday season, cybersecurity expert, Dwayne Brown, is urging consumers to watch out for scammers who are also working hard to take advantage of people doing their Christmas shopping online.

    Mr Brown, the cybersecurity executive at the JN Group, said people should be on the lookout for popular online shopping scams, including fake offers, and has urged shoppers to implement safe cybersecurity practices that will safeguard them against attacks.

    “Every year shoppers globally lose money to online scams and so I want to remind anyone who decides to make purchases online to be wary of where you shop and who you are purchasing from,” Mr Brown said.

    He said shoppers should be cautious of the websites and online retail stores they visit and recommends that people stick to sites that are well-known, trusted and secure. He said it’s also good practise to buy items from vendors with a good reputation, like the sellers on the e-commerce platform, eBay.

    “Be wary of those stores and sellers offering luxury items at very low prices. If a deal looks too good to be true, it is. Look out for warning signs, such as bad grammar on websites, emails or social media posts. If it does not look or sound right, do not trust it,” he advised.

    “Also pay attention to a website’s URL. If it starts with HTTPS, that indicates that the site uses encryption and will protect your data. If the site has a padlock symbol in the URL bar, this also means the website is secure,” he added.

    Mr Brown also urged shoppers to avoid clicking on links in emails, which scammers may use to lure people to fake websites and capture their information. He said shoppers should also keep the information they share online limited.

    “Phishing attacks continue to happen and as with all of these scams, the fraudster aims to gain your trust so they can steal your personal data. Do not click on suspicious links that you cannot verify. If you aren’t familiar with a company, sometimes even a quick browser search can help,” he said.

    The cybersecurity executive said generally, shoppers should avoid using public Wi-Fi to do purchases noting that while this can be convenient, it does not protect sensitive data.

    Shoppers are also encouraged to avoid saving their credit cards, passwords, payment or other information on sites, as an additional layer of safety in the event a browser has been compromised. “Keep in mind that storing sensitive information like this can put you at a greater risk for fraud and identity theft,” Mr Brown advised.

    Mr Brown has also encouraged online shoppers to monitor their accounts, especially over the holiday season.  “Keep track of your cards and accounts. If something looks suspicious, reach out to your bank and make a report immediately, he said.

    He stressed that while online shopping is great for avoiding lines and traffic this holiday season, shoppers will need to be vigilant if they are to reduce the likelihood of their information falling into the wrong hands.

    “Criminals are aware of the fact that the internet does provide that hassle-free shopping experience and so they continue to get crafty with their methods of tricking people. It is, therefore, wise for you to take some time to learn how to protect yourself online and this will benefit you beyond this holiday season,” he said.

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