How to keep cybercriminals at bay when shopping online this Black Friday

Image of FNB virtual cards on a phone display created for Black Friday

November marks the start of seasonal spending, with everyone on the lookout for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. While this is an exciting time of year, it is equally critical for everyone to be vigilant when shopping to avoid falling victim to fraudsters.

“Shopping sprees are always characterised by a rise in attempts to defraud unsuspecting consumers through malicious tricks and scams. Hence it is always important to be on high alert whether you’re shopping in-store or online. The number of South Africans who choose the convenience of online shopping to avoid queues has increased significantly in recent years, so it is crucial to ensure that safety is a top priority when shopping online,” says Trish Ramdhani, Head of Fraud at FNB Card.

Ramdhani shares safety tips to help you protect your money against fraudsters lurking online season:

Beware of tricks or gimmicks

Cybercriminals occasionally create bogus online stores that claim to sell hard-to-find items like beauty cosmetics or the latest gadgets. Some even place adverts on websites and social media to lure clients, with product photographs, descriptions, reviews, a shopping cart, and a payment process to look credible. If you purchase from one of these rogue stores, your money, payment information, and personal information will be exposed to criminals. The best way to avoid such scams is to shop from trusted providers and platforms. In addition, always verify any delivery notifications from retailers by calling them or the courier company directly. Never click on links sent in these notifications.

The bank has seen the common types of fraud that customers fall victim to, which are phishing, vishing and smishing fraud which involves fraudsters obtaining your banking login and or card details. Customers should avoid responding to texts, phone calls, or emails that require such confidential information. FNB will never ask you to process a transaction in order to reverse fraud. In addition, FNB will never ask you for your OTP or confidential information such as your banking password.

Never disclose sensitive information such as passwords and PINs to anyone

Fraudsters often impersonate bankers, fraud investigators, and customer service consultants to defraud consumers. Their goal is to gain access to sensitive information, such as a One-Time PIN (OTP) required to authenticate transactions or credentials like a username or password to access your bank accounts. The golden rule is to keep in mind that no reputable institution will ask you to disclose such information to their representatives. It is critical to never share such sensitive information with a third party.

Use safer and more convenient ways to pay

To limit the risk of fraud when shopping online, choose the safest payment methods. Avoid using Instant EFT payments that require you to expose sensitive information to third-party providers to complete a payment.

FNB has enabled its customers to load their Virtual Cards for contactless ‘Tap to Pay’ transactions on all FNB Pay-enabled digital wallets, including its own Tap to Pay and Scan to Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, and Garmin Pay. Similarly, customers are encouraged to load their existing virtual cards or create new ones to use with the Google Wallet app, which can be downloaded from the Play Store. This gives them more options for contactless and digital payments.

FNB encourages its customers to use Virtual Cards for safer online payments and to approve online purchases through the FNB App. The Card Verification Value (CVV) security number on FNB Virtual Cards changes every hour, providing an extra layer of protection for customers, a necessity when shopping up a storm this Black Friday. FNB also covers online purchases made using FNB and RMB Private Bank Virtual Cards with complimentary Purchase Protect insurance. It covers customers’ purchases for 30 days post-purchase, up to R15 000, and in case of an accident, the insurance will cover repairs or the item’s purchase price. The bank has also introduced Money Protect, a free insurance cover for certain card fraud-related losses up to a predetermined amount. The bank will be assisting affected customers with a claim through the Money Protect insurance solution to alleviate the impact of any potential financial losses from this incident.

Immediately report suspected fraud

When transacting, whether it be during Black Friday or any other time of year, consumers should always exercise caution to protect themselves from possible fraud. This can help prevent financial losses and the compromise of one’s financial personal information. Precautionary measures include paying attention to financial institutions’ safety guidelines and taking personal responsibility to ensure that safety is always a priority. When you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, you must notify your financial institution immediately. FNB customers can use the FNB App to temporarily block, cancel, or replace their cards if they suspect fraud – this is not just limited to Black Friday.

“Protecting yourself is not simply limited to your bank card, but also includes being observant and practicing safe banking behaviour all round, online, on ATMS, over the phone. To help prevent fraud, FNB has invested resources to inform, educate and support customers on how to bank safely without falling victim to fraud. General Banking safety is a two-way street that requires consumers to exercise caution to avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities,” concluded Ramdhani.

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