“The world has been significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 Pandemic which has set the us firmly on the path of no return. Consumerism has shifted to online channels to practice safer shopping. Holidays and special occasions such as Black Friday, Christmas, and Valentine’s day saw significant online traffic in 2020 and 2021. Statistics show that online shopping increased by almost 250% at the end of last year and that global online shopping during February 2021 increased by 150% over the corresponding period in 2020. What is concerning though is the reports from the South African Fraud Prevention Service which pointed out that impersonation fraud increased by 337% in 2020. This means that criminals are aggressively targeting their victims,” according to Reana Steyn, the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS).
In response to the rising fraud, (Read: Tough economic conditions fertile soil for criminals – New tactic to watch out for), PayPal has provided consumers with the following fraud prevention tips to avoid an online scam:
- Check your emails. Scammers can easily fake the “friendly name,” but it’s more difficult to fake a full name. For example – a sender like “PayPal Service (zxk1942R3@gmail.com)” is not a legitimate message. If you are unsure of a sender, look at previous communication, the URL and how you were addressed.
- No company will ask you for sensitive information like your password, bank account, or credit card details over email.
- If there’s a link in an email, always check it before you click as it could be one of many online scams. A link could look perfectly safe but if you move your mouse over the link you’ll see the true destination. If you aren’t certain, don’t click on the link. Just visiting a bad website could infect your machine.
- If you find yourself in a situation questioning whether this could be a scam, there are two important themes to keep in mind to help you decipher if you’re dealing with fraud and potentially at risk:
- A fraudster will offer something irresistible, usually something that is too good to be true or request something and wrap it in a fake urgent scenario that encourages you to panic and act quickly, without caution.
- Online Merchant Fraud. Before making any payment through an online merchant, be sure to research the merchant and read reviews to ensure you’re shopping with a reputable seller.
But what are the common themes of online scams? Click here to read more about medical treatment as well as charity scams.