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‘Tis the season for sales and online scam awareness

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales officially mark the start of the holiday shopping season, and with online sales everywhere, it’s a great time to grab some pre-Christmas bargains. It’s also a great time to be aware and protect yourself from scams and phishing emails as cybercriminals look to take advantage of online shoppers.

Scammers may use email, text message or social media to try and trick online shoppers into revealing account information or financial details. The most common online scams involve fake websites to try and get the victim to pay for non-existent products and services, asking for personal and financial information and installing malicious software on devices.

Here are top tips from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group on how to stay safe while shopping the online sales.

  • Shop with reputable retailers or online stores. Double check those marketing emails or those social media pop up ads to ensure they are from legitimate stores – look at the email address, hover over any links without clicking on them to see where you are getting sent to.
  • If you find a bargain, add it to your cart, but don’t go directly to the payment page – check out the rest of the site by using a search engine, look at the URL, see what other items are for sale, don’t be pressured into making a rash decision through fear of missing out.
  • Make sure that the payment details are encrypted – look for the prefix “https” in the URL and a padlock icon in the URL…

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