The Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has warned the general public against fake online shops and hyped adverts, especially on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram among others.

A statement issued by the CSA said it anticipates a surge in the number of shopping scams such as fake online shops and malware attacks ahead of Black Friday during this Christmas shopping season.

These online fraudsters according to the CSA create online profiles just to attract the unsuspecting public into patronizing non-existing goods at very affordable prices.

“They ask potential buyers to make upfront payments to mobile money wallets with names not related to the shop or even the seller. After receiving payment, they don’t deliver the goods, and they subsequently block the buyer from communicating with them,” the CSA explained in a statement.

The CSA added that these fraudsters scam people through Phishing.  

Phishing, the Authority explained, is a tactic that malicious actors use to deceive people into disclosing their personal information e.g. debit/credit card number or account password by getting them to click on malicious links cloaked in official-looking emails, attachments, and logos that lead to impersonated websites of popular brands like Amazon or Alibaba.

The authority has, thus, recommended the following:

• Be on the lookout for fake online shops and hyped adverts, especially on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram.

• Do due diligence on any shopping site before purchasing items online.

• As much as possible only shop from reputable and well-known online stores and stay away from websites you have never heard about.

• Do payments on delivery rather than making payments with the assurance that the goods purchased will be delivered.

• Be cautious of proposals and deals including those shared by email that seem too good to be true no matter how appealing they appear.