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Safety on Black Friday
Black Friday sale

With Black Friday around the corner, shoppers are gearing up for the popular shopping spree.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic still looming, online shopping will be on the cards to avoid the chaos and long queues at shopping malls.

According to a recent McKinsey & Company consumer sentiment survey, 40% of consumers intend to continue online shopping even when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

Thomas Pays, CEO and co-founder of digital payments company Ozow, says the sharp rise in online shopping and e-commerce has highlighted the need for innovative technology-driven solutions that allow shoppers to shop and pay safely online.

Black Friday deals are running over four weeks at many retailers at Table View and Milnerton shopping malls.

Pays says the way to successfully navigate Black Friday responsibly relies on four factors:

  • Stick to a plan and set a budget. The overwhelming number of deals make it incredibly tempting to spend more than you have. Make a list of what you need, familiarise yourself with the available deals, set a realistic budget, and stick to it.
  • Shop with trusted e-commerce retailers. Trustworthy sites like Takealot can handle large volumes of transactions through a safe, automated checkout process. Most popular e-commerce sites will protect you from online fraud and cybercrime over this busy time.
  • Don’t trust non-secure checkouts. Checkout security is critical, as it is the most vulnerable point in the shopping process for cyberhackers to attack, says Pays. A secure encrypted checkout should always have a small padlock icon next to the site’s URL in your browser.
  • Research the checkout payment options. You don’t need a credit card to shop and pay online. Ozow enables you to pay instantly online with only a bank account, allowing most South Africans to skip the queues and transact safely and hassle-free. Regular Ozow users can speed up their online transaction even further with OzowPIN

“As online shopping grows in popularity, it’s even more important that we drive towards financial and digital inclusion for all South Africans by empowering them with equal accessibility to a safe online payment solution. We also hope to encourage and assist consumers to shop responsibly with the cash they have in their bank accounts to avoid unnecessary debt,” says Pays. 

However, shoppers are being warned to look out for scams while shopping online as cybercriminals are likely to be out in full force.

But consumers can protect themselves with a few simple steps, to make sure the criminals are not the ones finding bargains this year:

  •  Free WiFi is rarely secure. With most office workers still working remotely, it has become totally normal to connect to company systems via personal networks. But please keep information - such as name, address and credit card details - safe by not connecting to public networks such as those at coffee shops or airports, as these are invariably less secure and easier to compromise.
  • Assume all links are phishy - it has become really easy for criminals to impersonate well-known retailers by setting up fake sites that look remarkably like the real thing. Cybercriminals can easily direct consumers to malicious websites using pop-up ads or phishing links in marketing emails, so it’s best to stay away. Any legitimate Black Friday deal will feature on the retailer’s website. It’s better to go directly to the real site or use their mobile app. And let’s face it, if it seems too-good-to-be-true, it probably is.
  • If you’re still using the same password for everything, you’re doing it wrong. Some retailers offer greater discounts when shoppers sign up to their rewards program or newsletter. Always use a unique password. That way, if the password becomes exposed, it won’t compromise your other accounts, such as email, banking or anything work related. You should be using unique passwords for every service and platform anyway.
  • Cybercriminals can easily embed malware into email attachments and compromise your security when you open it. Retailers typically don’t send shoppers downloadable attachments, so think twice before opening anything and rather go directly to the retailer’s website or app. The last thing you want is to infect your own device with malware, or even worse be the person that brings down your company network.

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