Monday 28 September, 2020

Be careful while shopping online during the festive season - CIRT

Head of the Cyber Incidence Response Team (CIRT), Dr. Moniphia Hewling, is calling on Jamaicans to make an extra effort this year to protect their personal and financial information during this festive season.

Dr. Hewling said that, generally, during this time of the year there is an increase in cybercrime globally, as persons do more online shopping, “especially last-minute shoppers, who tend to go online for special offers”.

“There is a lot of shopping taking place on social media as well, so we must ensure that the persons we are purchasing from are legitimate,” she added.

Dr. Hewling said persons need to double-check, call the business, check the ratings and comments of the customers of the company, and try to verify the authenticity of the outlet as best as possible before making a purchase.

“Things are easy and prettier on social media, so people get caught easier there,” she said.

Dr. Hewling noted that locally there have been reports of persons who have bought items on these sites but never received the goods.

She said especially during this season, there are many new pop-up businesses, as social media is one of the easiest places to set up shop.

Dr. Hewling explained that another common cyberattack found on social media, is when a user clicks on a link, and it asks for personal or financial information.

She reiterated the call for persons to protect their data when they go online, adding that this season, it is also important to look out for malicious emails.

“These emails will look like they are coming from a genuine sender, a financial institution, an e-Commerce site or some business site that you usually shop on,” she pointed out.

“You need to ensure that you look carefully to verify the website, and if possible, call to check. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.

Dr. Hewling advised that shoppers need to look at the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) when they go to shop at websites, to ensure that the site is authentic.

She noted that during this season, fake sites usually pop up, imitating genuine sites, with the only difference being ‘.com’ instead of ‘.net’ or with a letter missing sometimes.

Additionally, the CIRT Head said that persons need to also protect their devices, ensuring that they have the most up-to-date software and some sort of security.

Dr. Hewling said anyone who has experienced any Internet scam should report it to the police and their financial institution, and if they need assistance, they may contact and “we can guide and help you to elevate it”


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