Nothing good ever comes from fear mongering. Unfortunately, the reality is that the internet is full of crooks who are looking for opportunities to con you out of your hard-earned pay check. But it is also a wonderful place full of information, opportunity, great deals, and lasting connections.

To help you navigate some of the common online security pitfalls, we’ve compiled a handy guide with tips to help keep you safe from scammers.

Do not share sensitive banking details
It is impossible to control information once it has been released into the world. Therefore, refrain from sharing your credit card number or CV number (3-digit number on the back of your credit card), with someone who should not have access to that information. Also remember, your bank will never ask for these details over the phone or on email. Do not be fooled by someone imitating your bank.

Do not share a one-time pin (OTP)

As a second verification step, you are sometimes required by certain websites to enter an OTP sent to your phone. If someone contacts you and tells you that their OTP was accidentally sent to you, do not forward it to them. They will use it to gain access to your accounts – whether it be your internet banking, your WhatsApp, or whichever site they have stolen some of your other login information for.

Do not share passwords

This one seems obvious. Yet, people still regularly trust friends with passwords to their social media accounts and even, on occasion, their ATM pin. Once you have shared a password, it loses its security. Remember to change it immediately once it is safe to do so.

Avoid “get-rich-quick” offers

If something online looks “too good to be true” you best believe that it is. There really is nothing more to be said about this. Do not fall for these lies.

Practice safe online shopping

When buying something online, only make use of reputable online stores. When buying something from an advertiser on social media, request to see the product before any payment takes place. And should you decide to go ahead with the purchase, arrangement a payment method you are comfortable with. Do not be tricked into using a payment method you are not familiar with. Should a delivery / parcel you did not order arrive at your address, do not take receipt of it and, most definitely, do not be fooled into paying for it. If you did not order it, send it back. It is a scheme designed to get your money.

If you have been the victim of online fraud of a scam, contact the South African Police Service for assistance immediately.