Stay alert during the festive season

Posted on December 13, 2018

Cyberattacks tend to increase during the festive season. You are therefore warned to remain cautious, especially when shopping online and responding to phishy emails.

Some warning signs to look out for:

  • Websites and emails advertising prices that are dramatically cheaper than anywhere else or products that are sold out or not available anywhere else;
  • An email requesting you to supply your bank account information, credit card number, user code and password or other personal information;
  • An email referring to a payment made to you or suspected fraud related to your personal bank account or tax return, but is addressed to “Dear Customer” and not to you personally;
  • An email coming from a gmail, yahoo, hotmail, or another free email account - legitimate companies all maintain a domain and related company email account which is part of their branding;
  • Poor spelling and grammar;
  • A tremendous sense of urgency to take “immediate action” to prevent something bad from happening, like closing of an account or legal action against you;
  • Deals, offers, free gifts and prizes that are obviously too good to be true, for example winning a competition or lottery that you did not enter, inheriting a large sum of money or being asked to help with a foreign money transfer from someone you have never heard of; and
  • Messages with attachments that offer no indication of what the message is all about.

Protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Purchase from websites that you already know, trust and have done business with previously;
  • Do not be fooled by a website that looks exactly like one that you are familiar with – check the domain name of the web address and for small deviations from the known name;
  • Make sure you have an encrypted connection with the website indicated by a lock and/or the letters https right before the website’s name;
  • Do not click on links within an email or open an attachment unless you are sure that it comes from a familiar person or company and from a valid address for the person or company;
  • If an email contains a link which you are requested to click on, hover over the link to check the address connected to the link (displayed at the bottom left of the screen on most browsers);
  • Do a browser search on the subject of the email or any other unique information in the mail (e.g. the name of the signee of the message); and
  • If you are still unsure, forward the email to [email protected] and ask for advice.

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