With Black Friday around the corner, South Africans are urged to be on the look out for cybercrime.
With Black Friday around the corner, South Africans are urged to be on the look out for cybercrime.

Beware of cunning cybercriminals on Black Friday

By Keshia Africa Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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At this time of year spending is the one thing on everyone’s mind, many people have turned to online shopping to avoid the stampedes caused by sales in stores.

Online shopping has become essential to many over the past 18 months and with Black Friday around the corner, South Africans are being urged to be aware of cybercrime.

Chief information officer at RCS, Leon Jacobs, said that although online shopping brings convenience, there was a greater risk of cybercrime.

“Black Friday presents several opportunities for cybercrime in the form of online shopping fraud and phishing,” he said.

He added: “Many of these cybercrimes can also take the form of emails, targeted ransomware and business email compromise attempts.”

A study conducted by World Wide Worx on online retail in South Africa last year showed that there was a 66% growth for online retail in South Africa. This amounted to R30.2 billion.

Jacobs said a way to prevent falling prey to cybercrime is to shop at reputable stores.

“Search for reviews and complaints about that store online. Reputable stores will have detailed returns and exchange processes as well as transparent delivery policies and charges,” he said.

He added: “Many South African stores can be verified either by contacting their head offices, checking their social media accounts or by researching consumer reviews of their online service.”

Jacobs added that it was essential to update all contact information to ensure you receive SMS notifications for purchases made on your account.

“If you receive a transaction notification SMS and you haven’t transacted, you should immediately contact your financial services provider to report the incident,” he said.

“A reputable financial services provider will never request passwords, OTP (One-Time-Pin) or reference numbers to verify a transaction.”

Lastly, Jacobs advised that shoppers should avoid using public WiFi when logging onto banking profiles or accessing online retail accounts.

“Very often, criminals use free WiFi as a means to hack devices and steal important personal information like passwords, account details and addresses,” he said.

He added: “Using your secure WiFi at home or data may be more expensive but it’s one of the best safety measures that consumers can use to avoid serious risk in the long-term.”

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