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Keep your guard up: Don’t get phished this holiday season!

It’s the most beautiful time of the year where discounts start as early as November. Penning this to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which were not as prevalent in Kenya until recently, discounts and offers are booming in the air. Flash-sale adverts are all over making it the most convenient time to start off your December holiday shopping.
Before you indulge yourself in the holiday shopping craze, I’ll let you in on how scammers swindle unsuspecting shoppers during holiday season shopping. What should you be on the lookout for?
1. Fake customer surveys – Often, the surveys give rewards upon completion. Some could be genuine, but be careful if there is any financial information asked. You should also avoid surveys asking too much personally identifiable information as they could use your information to steal your identity or conduct cybercrimes.
2. Free shipping & other discounts scam – Well, we always want to avoid shipping costs to maximize on our purchases. You might as well be attracted to an email with free shipping alert. Most times, they may use this as bait for you to open the email only to have your inbox flooded with spam or have your devices infected by malware.
3. Email links and URLs – Be keen to check websites you purchase from and emails you receive. If you are not confident or are suspicious about an email you received, please don’t open it. It is safer not to than regret later on.
4. Fake orders – To unsuspecting shoppers, you can receive a fake order which they can convince you to pay for. Example, shoppers whose domains are about to expire might get an email asking them to renew the SEO subscriptions they did not subscribe to in the first place. A good number of users fall victim and pay the few dollars only to realize they are paying for a service that doesn’t exist. Fake orders scam can be used to target you based on the industry you operate.
5. Unauthorized transactions – If frequently or have ever made an online payment using your credit card or online payment gateways, ensure you are aware of any transactions done. That way, you will notice any suspicious transaction activity.
I say, if it looks weird, it unquestionably is! From experience, if you feel something doesn’t add up, there is information that is missing, if you second guess it, then it’s a scam. It doesn’t matter how sweet the deal is, you’re probably getting phished. Check for grammertical errors, unusual email structure, suspicious email address e.t.c.
So, stay safe this holiday as you shop online. Happy Shopping!

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