Black Friday may be a good time for consumers looking to pick up bargains in time for Christmas but it is also a time of rich pickings for scammers and fraudsters.
With the excitement of the “last few remaining” and “limited time offer” it is easy to see how people can overlook the basic security measures that you should be taking whenever you are using electronic payments whether in store or on the web.
On the web you should only use sites that you trust and you should always check that both the URL in the address bar is consistent with the site that you believe you are on and that there is a padlock next to the web address before you enter any card payment details.
You should also only make payments electronically on your home network or your mobile network. Do not make payments on public WiFi networks where your payment could be intercepted.
If you use the mobile hotspot feature on your mobile phone, this should be enabled at all times when you are not using it.
In shops and on the high street beware of card skimmers. Look for suspicious signs on card readers, the skimming devices that are now is use can be wafer thin and are not easily spotted. Also beware that thieves may have even concealed cameras to record your pin details as you enter them. Always cover your code.
This technique of stealing your credit or bank card details is no longer limited to a physical transaction such as using a modified or hacked machine in a shop or other retail outlet. There has also been an increase in skimming by the insertion of malicious code into the websites of major retailers.
For both online and inshore payments, security experts recommend the use of third party payment options where possible such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Paypal to further reduce your risks.
If appropriate you should disable international payments on your cards and enable purchase alerts on all cards so that you receive instant notifications on your phone when a payment is made.