With social distancing regulating our movements in public spaces, most South Africans have flocked online for social hangouts, entertainment, business, and most of all, to shop for everything from groceries, clothing and medication to internet and phone deals. The online shopping revolution has clearly arrived in South Africa, and we want to help you make sure that you protect your data and don't become a victim of fraud while surfing for the best deals.
Look for the Lock
Ideally, you want to shop on websites that are secure and keep your data safe. Take a look at the top of the screen near the website address for a small image of a lock or a broken key. This is a sign that the website is safe. In addition to this, when you’re about to enter personal information such as your credit card details, look at the address bar and make sure there is an ‘s’ after the HTTP:// which means you should see: HTTPS://. This means your data can’t be copied from this website.
Only Shop Using Secure Connections and Locations
While several public places offer Wi-Fi, you shouldn’t use this to conduct online shopping or banking for that matter. There’s a higher chance that someone could steal your information when you’re using the unsecured Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop or mall. Always shop in the safety of your home or at work, provided the connection is secure.
Avoid Strange Emails and Links
Fraudsters are indeed extremely talented. They create emails and links that can mimic your favourite online store and appear legitimate. While providers do send emails occasionally, they don’t offer deals that are unbelievable. If you’re in doubt, rather type the website address manually if you’re interested. Additionally, don’t send out emails with your personal information to strangers or random businesses.
Enter Strong Passwords
Try to avoid passwords that are easy to guess. A hacker can crack a six-digit password in less than 10 minutes. Ensure that your password is 8 characters long at a minimum and contains a combination of capital letters, numbers and special symbols such as the $ sign.
Once you’re on an online shopping website, check if they have a local address and contact numbers. If not, avoid the site and do not share any personal details.
Save Your Favourites
When you find these sites and have a pleasant experience, you should bookmark them as a favourite. All you have to do is enter the website and look for a star or a button called ‘bookmark this page’. As a result, the website will be saved as one of your favourites so you can directly click on the favourites button every time you want to shop.
When you’re using your credit and debit cards for online purchases, providers such as VISA and Mastercard offer security measures like Verified and SecureCode to protect you. Usually, it involves receiving a One-Time Password (OTP) directly to your mobile phone specifically for that purchase. As a result, your bank account is protected.
Use Third-Party Review Sites
If you’re not sure about an online store, the easiest way to determine whether it’s safe is to visit independent review sites. Several third-party business review sites such as Hellopeter will return all the information about a store’s past complaints, compliments and customer service. You can visit these sites directly or just Google the store’s name along with the term “reviews” to see the results.
Overall, online shopping is a handy and convenient tool which is extremely convenient when used correctly, especially in recent months. It is certainly the future of the way we shop, so make sure you’re doing it safely.