30th October, 2014
Christmas is around the corner and as expected smart shoppers are already crawling online shop for clearance sales and bargains. Christmas may be a season for shopping and giving, but it also the season for scamming. This underscores the need for Nigerian consumers to be particularly cautious as we approach the festive season.
Findings have revealed that as more and more consumers use their smartphones to help manage the demands of the holiday season, the risk of exposure to malicious software or malware, which enables cyber criminals to steal personal information, is higher than ever. Over the last few weeks, there has been a surge in fraudulent activities on card transactions in the United States and Europe.
This calls for immediate responses from all commercial banks in the country to protect Nigerians while they use their cards. Card users in the country should also watch out for a number of credit card scams this Christmas.
The most dangerous is “Help! I’ve been robbed” scam: This fraud discovered by McAfee security company in 2010 is still going very strong with email in-boxes awash with fake distress messages to family and friends requesting that money be wired or transferred so that they can get home.
There is also “fake gift cards” where online scammers are using social networking websites to promote fake gift card offers. In fact, they steal consumers’ information and money, which can then be used to commit identity fraud.
Another scam to watch out for is Holiday job offers – This scam has been seen on social networking site Twitter, where links are posted to high-paying, work-at-home jobs. The fraudsters ask for personal information, such as your email address, home address and other personal details in order to apply for the fake job.
As Christmas is traditionally a time of giving, leading internet security firm, McAfee, has predicted a rise in charity scams during the festive season. It is however a cheery news to note that some Nigerian banks like Fidelity Bank and UBA Plc are already taking steps to prevent and mitigate the likelihood of fraud on card users during the season.
Both banks are now asking for additional level of security on all card transactions originating from the USA and non-EMV (Chip and PIN) compliant countries.
Card users on the other hand must also protect themselves by ensuring that they stick to well-established and trusted sites that include trust marks (icons or seals from third parties verifying that the site is safe), user reviews and customer support.
And do not respond to offers that arrive in a spam email, text or instant message as well as staying away from vendors that offer prices well below the norm.