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Look out for cyber scams, CAC warns consumers

Published:Monday | December 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reminding shoppers to guard against cyber scams as they make their online purchases during the Christmas season.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, says impulse spending during the Yuletide period makes persons particularly vulnerable to these scams.

"The criminals are lurking," she said.

She notes that the steps to prevent scamming start and end with the buyer's ability to decipher real from dangerous and dubious links.

According to Allen, consumers must first confirm the legitimacy of the website from which they are buying to ensure that it is the official site for the merchant.

As such, she is advising persons not to navigate to sites by clicking links in emails or from advertisements. "Don't click on links in unsolicited emails; type in the URL yourself."

"If you're unsure about the legitimacy of a site, use a search engine to research it. Do some security checks and make sure you're using the latest version of your browser, and have it set to the highest security level and install updates when prompted," she adds.

The CAC boss points out that secure sites will display a green locked padlock symbol in the browser window. They will also have an address that begins with https instead of the usual http.

She further advised persons to install protective software and firewalls if they plan to make multiple purchases online.

Allen also urged shoppers to be on guard and to hide their PINs, and credit card and banking information.

"Consumers have to be more vigilant. It is a yearly complaint and we are urging the public to be more responsible and take the steps to protect themselves and their finances," she added.