Head of Consumer Issuing at Absa, Tshipi Alexander, advises that a general rule that online consumers should always follow is not giving out their financial information over the Internet.

Follow these tips to protect yourself from being scammed this Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

1. Always keep your personal information secure by changing your PIN and passwords regularly.
2. Never open a link or an attachment within an email claiming to be from your bank as this may take you to a fraudulent website or download a virus or keylogging software that can compromise your security.

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3. Be aware that phishing scams also make use of instant messaging systems such as GoogleTalk or Skype as well as social networking websites such as Facebook. When in doubt of the authenticity of a link, simply don’t click on it.
4. Install good quality security software and ensure that you have updated to the latest version of your browser. Most of the newer browsers are equipped with the ability to detect fraudulent websites.
5. Don’t bank or shop online when using a public terminal such as those in Internet cafés, hotels, coffee shops or student labs. Keylogging software could be present on the computer and will send all your personal information through to the fraudster, who could then use this information to clear out your account.
6. Before you bank online, double check that you are on the secure Internet banking website.
7. Also check the browser for a closed lock or key icon – which should either be at the top or the bottom of the screen.
8. When leaving your computer, always end the current session by closing your browser window, and never leave your computer unattended during an Internet banking session.

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Alexander also advises customers to register with the notification service from their banks, which automatically sends an SMS when there is any activity on their accounts including ATM withdrawals, debit orders, and credit card purchases.

Above all, notify your bank immediately if you face malicious threats online or if you notice any unusual activity on your cards or bank statements.