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Three Online Scams to Beware of After the Holiday Season

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Three Online Scams to Beware of After the Holiday Season

This article comes after the recent scam on Facebook offering free gift cards from Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay. This is the perfect time for scammers to be out in full force, after the holiday season, when everyone is strapped for cash.


We have listed three of the biggest scams below, which will help you stay ahead of the scammers and allow you to enjoy your online experience with peace of mind.


Malicious links in text, email or Facebook feeds: The easiest way to be targeted is via an email, text or Facebook post, offering a great deal. Generally, don’t click on a link from someone you don’t know as it could be spyware or a malicious program designed to capture passwords and other personal information.


If you didn’t remember entering a competition or ordering a package, it is probably a scam. If the deal is too amazing to be true, it’s probably a scam. Such as the “Get a Free R500 Woolworths or Pick ‘n Pay Gift Card by sharing the link on your Facebook page” scam.


Always check the source of the link – even if it’s from someone you know, a scammer could have hijacked their account and sent it on their behalf.


Phony gift card offers: This is in the form of an email, text message or Facebook post saying that you’ve won a prize or that you’ve qualified for a massive discount or sum of money on a gift card. You are then required to enter extensive personal information in order to receive it or share the link to your friends – don’t do it!



The more personal information they have, the easier it will be to get into your bank account, for example.


Ignore links offering ridiculous discounts and steer clear of sites that offer gift cards at unheard of prices.


Unknown sites advertising unbelievable offers: You know the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? This is the general rule when it comes to scams. Some sites do offer amazing deals, like Groupon and Superbalist (Citymob), but it’s the unknown sites that you need to watch out for: the ones with strangely spelt names or the ones offering highly sort after items like iPads and iPhones at abnormally low prices.


Be very wary when entering your credit card details onto unknown sites and make sure that the site is secure: The web address should begin with https:// instead of http://. The “s” means that it is secure. We recommend using a separate card for online purchases and setting your limits as low as possible (so that if your details are stolen, the damage will be minimal). It’s also advisable not to save any of your credit card details on a site for future purchases.


Dubious websites can also pull you in by offering vouchers for popular gifts. If you have to enter a lot of personal information to get the voucher, the warning bells in your head should start to sound.


If you are required to sign up to the account in order to purchase, using a password you haven’t used for anything else, is a good idea.


What to do if you think you’ve been involved in an online scam: Immediately run a virus scan. Mobile phones and tablets aren’t immune to scamware, so this applies to all devices. We recommend using ESET NOD32 for desktop and mobile security.


Change your password if you think you have been scammed on a social media site.


Call your credit card company right away – they will put a watch on your card for suspicious activity.


To recap, stick to the well-known sites, don’t click on any links from unfamiliar sources and don’t be tricked into giving up extensive personal information to get a good deal. Got it? Following this IT advice will ensure a happy online experience.

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