Stay safe when shopping online

Culture and people Compliance
Safe online shopping
The annual holiday shopping season, stretching from mid-October to early January, is a highlight on the calendars of many shoppers and virtually all retailers. Sales during this period has been steadily growing every year, with online shopping accounting for an ever-increasing portion of total retail sales.

In 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic led to an unprecedented surge in online shopping as social distancing and other restrictions kept consumers at home. In South Africa, online retail shopping doubled in growth in the period between 2018 and 2020, far exceeding industry predictions.

But, even as South Africans grow more comfortable with online shopping, many are still concerned about security. They have good reason: SABRIC reports that card-not-present fraud accounts for 80% of credit card and 53% of debit card fraud.

Entersekt Senior solutions architect, Ellezane Williams shares quick and simple tips for staying safe while shopping online this festive season.

1. Check Your Account Regularly

Make sure to monitor your bank account for any suspicious activity. Online and mobile banking platforms allow for fraudulent activity to be detected quickly and reported easily. Many mobile banking apps permit you to reverse debit orders, and even pause the functioning of your bank card in real-time if the card has been stolen or copied.

2. Don’t Ignore Two-Factor Authentication

In South Africa, banks have to verify the identity of their cardholders for all online card purchases using the 3-D Secure protocol. After entering their card details on a merchant website during checkout, a shopper will be required to authenticate the purchase by approving it in their banking app, entering a one-time PIN sent to their mobile device, or responding to a USSD push notification. These methods, known as two-factor authentication, help prevent fraudsters from using stolen card details in online purchases. It’s important to always pay attention to the authentication message: make sure that the amount, merchant name and other details match the transaction you are performing. If you receive an unexpected authentication request when you are not shopping online, block the transaction and immediately contact your bank.

Many other online accounts give consumers the option to use two-factor authentication. Enable this function wherever possible – especially for email accounts and any financial or sensitive accounts. Where you have to use a password, make sure to never reuse passwords across accounts and never use easy-to-hack passwords like 123456 or QWERTY.

3. Avoid Public WiFi Networks for Sensitive Transactions

Avoid entering sensitive information such as your card or banking details or ID number when using a public network. Your local café may have the fastest connection, but it may not be the safest. Public internet connections have a higher probability of being manipulated to divulge users' passwords and usernames. Instead, use a private network or mobile data for online transactions like banking and shopping.

4. Use Secure Websites

Steer clear of fraudulent or phishing websites by manually typing in the URLs of websites you use in the address bar of your browser or bookmarking them. Never click on any links in an email or text message to go to your internet banking website, even when it looks like a legitimate email. Unofficial and illegal websites are often created to mirror legitimate sites and are used by fraudsters to steal sensitive information. Fraudulent sites can also leave your devices vulnerable to malicious software.

Official websites usually have a digital security certificate, indicated by a lock symbol next to the URL of some websites. The lock indicates that the website is secure and that information shared on it cannot be intercepted by a third party.

5. Use a Temporary Credit Card

Some banks offer temporary or virtual credit cards, which can be used for one-time purchases or in digital wallets. Some temporary cards have set spending or transaction limits. These types of cards are recommended for frequent online shoppers, as they have the benefit of functioning without the usage of typical debit or credit card details.

There are many ways to help protect yourself online this festive season. Follow #EntersektSafetyTips for more tips on staying safe while shopping online.

Entersekt is a global payment security company headquartered in Cape Town. The company secures more than one billion transactions every month, protecting millions of financial services customers across the globe.