Cape Town – With Black Friday taking place amid Covid-19 restrictions, online shopping platforms have become more attractive, leaving the banking sector to stress the importance of cyber-safety.
The Ombudsman for Banking Services has warned that while Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring welcome bargains, not all of these specials and bargains are genuine as “cyber criminals are becoming very inventive in the way they commit their crimes”.
“During this period, fraud is likely to occur when transacting online or with bank cards at the ATM and other point-of-sale devices.
“Consumers will also receive calls from criminals pretending to be representatives from their bank.
“Even though the caller may know your identity number, name, and card number, consumers are urged to never disclose any confidential information such as the CVV number on the back of their cards or the one-time pin (OTP) sent to their phones by the bank.
“It is very important to remember that the bank will never ask you for your access code, password and PIN over the phone or via email links,” Ombudsman, Reana Steyn said.
Neil Thompson, head of product and customer value proposition at African Bank, said it was a lucrative time for criminals.
“Attacks increase by as much as 336% around this time,” he said.
“If you are shopping online, be especially cautious of phishing scams. Internet banking fraud now makes up 55% of all fraud occurring through banks. If an offer looks too good to be true, it is probably fake.
“You need to watch out for emails promising these amazing bargains. Rather than click on a link in an email or SMS, go to the site itself. Hackers can even spoof websites, so make sure you’re shopping on the actual site.”
Meanwhile, the City said its environmental health service would monitor shopping malls and retailers to ensure compliance with Covid-19 protocols, in the interest of public safety.
“Much has been said about Black Friday and the anticipated rush in the retail sector.
“While we encourage support for the sector and the economy at large, we urge shoppers and establishments to ensure that all health protocols are observed at all times,” said Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien.