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How to stay safe from scams on Black Friday

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(Image credit: Unsplash)

Black Friday is almost here and the early deals have been rolling in.  

While this year is all about shopping online as many avoid going into crowded physical stores, it's always important to stay vigilant when looking for a bargain. 

Always approach websites that are not well known with caution, as sometimes a deal is too good to be true. 

Here are some tips to keep safe while shopping these great deals. 

Fake websites 

While online shopping has come a long way, scammers are praying on the trust that has been built in online shopping to trick you into thinking you're purchasing through a legitimate site. 

It's important not to click through to sites that come through your email and you've never heard of before. If you do follow through to an unknown site and are still interested in their products, take care to look out for deals that are too good to be true, horrible spelling and grammar mistakes and long or strange web addresses. 

Phony bank calls 

Some people will be making big purchases through online banking, scammers try use this time to increase fake bank phone calls. 

These include phone calls pretending to be your bank and requiring access to accounts to "approve" payments or confirm One Time Pins (OTPs). While it may seem obvious that you wouldn't fall for these kinds of scams, when caught up in the moment it is easy to be tricked. 

Never give out information to a person who calls you claiming to be from any financial institution. If you are concerned it may be a legitimate call for some reason, rather put down the call and call the banks main customer care line yourself. This way you know exactly who you're speaking to. 

Old apps 

Not a major concern but if you're using smartphone apps to shop then it's key to make sure they are updated to their latest version. 

Many stores are encouraging online shoppers to purchase through their apps with special discounts. This is great and a smart way for the companies to push traffic to their new apps. 

However, apps are often filled with bugs and security holes which are only picked up and fixed over time. These fixes only go out to the public in the form of updates. This is why updating apps is so vital, as it means you're less vulnerable to these flaws. 

Take a look at some of the early Black Friday specials

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.