- The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reminding shoppers to guard against cyber scams as they make their online purchases during the Christmas season.
- Mrs. Allen points out that secured 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.
- “If you are not able to have the matter resolved then we (CAC) will ask you to come to the agency. You may visit the office, call or email the CAC or leave a comment on our social media pages,” she says.
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 the impulsive spending during the yuletide period makes persons particularly vulnerable to these scams.
“The criminals are lurking,” she points out.
She notes that the steps to prevent scamming starts and ends with the buyer’s ability to decipher real from dangerous and dubious links.
She says consumers must first confirm the legitimacy of the website they are buying from 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,” she says.
“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.
Mrs. Allen points out that secured 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 is further advising persons to install protective software and firewalls if they plan to do excessive buying online.
She says shoppers should be on guard and be ready to hide their pin numbers, 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,” Mrs. Allen says.
Communications Specialist, CAC, Dorothy Campbell, is encouraging shoppers to read their bank statements daily in order to track transactions as well as to look out for any unusual credit card activity.
“Plan your spending routes and where you will make your purchases to avoid falling prey to Christmas scams. The CAC is encouraging online shoppers to purchase only with reputable merchants, preferably ones you’ve used before,” she notes further.
Ms. Campbell says it is a good idea to get a credit card that it used only for online shopping as this will make it easier to track genuine purchases.
“Remove your card information each time you make a purchase and close the browser at the end of the transaction to prevent the computer from saving the information,” she recommends.
“Be savvy about your password. If a site asks you to create a password, use a combination of letters and numbers and avoid using passwords that you’ve used before,” she adds.
Ms. Campbell says that while online shopping offers the benefit of lower prices, getting a redress can be a tedious process.
“Ensure that you read the return policy. We have had complaints from consumers about not being able to return goods that were purchased online or if they request an exchange it is at an added cost to them. So, read the fine print before clicking ‘I accept/agree to this offer’,” she advises.
For persons making credit card purchases at local enterprises, Ms. Campbell says “ensure that you follow the store attendant; do not leave your credit card with anyone. Con artists are ready to exploit distracted shoppers.”
She encourages consumers to first go back to the point of purchase to raise an objection to seek redress, once they have a challenge.
“If you are not able to have the matter resolved then we (CAC) will ask you to come to the agency. You may visit the office, call or email the CAC or leave a comment on our social media pages,” she says.