7 ways to stay safe online during lockdown

We’re all spending a lot more time online during lockdown. Here’s how to keep you and your family safe from click to click.


Bank and shop safely

You might find yourself doing more online transactions, or different ones, during lockdown. When you are using online banking, always make sure you’re accessing it from your bank’s secure website. Did you know, the link should always start with “https” and not “http”? A secure website that starts with “https” uses encryption to scramble your data so that no one can intercept it and use it fraudulently. It’s also better to type the website address into your browser instead of clicking on a link in an email. You should as far as possible, avoid clicking on any links in an email unless you are absolutely certain of its credibility. And don’t forget to sign out from your bank account as soon as you’re finished.

It’s always important to protect your PIN, but particularly when transacting online. If you need to enter your PIN to complete an online transaction remember to memorise both your PIN and password. Never share either with anyone. Capitec will never ask you for your PIN or password. And always use a PIN and password that are hard to guess. Avoid using obvious ones, such as your date of birth or child’s name. Change your PIN and password regularly.

Make sure you are registered for SMS notifications. They will alert you of any money that goes into or out of your account. If you believe that someone has managed to obtain your PIN and/or password fraudulently, change it immediately and notify your bank.

Should you not be able to transact online, and need to withdraw cash at an ATM, please remember to keep your social distance, not only will it safeguard you against the Covid-19 Virus, but also against criminals (card swappers) who may offer to assist you so that they can attempt to steal your card and PIN.


Don’t get caught phishing

Phishing is an online scam where criminals try to trick you into giving them your personal financial information by sending emails that appear as though they have come from a bank or other institution. They then use those details to steal money or your identity to commit fraud.

Capitec will only send you emails with tips to help you manage your money better and they will always come from cx@communications.capitecbank.co.za.

Never respond or reply to an email that:

  • Asks you to enter any personal details directly into the email or submit this information in any other way
  • Threatens to close or suspend your account if you don't take immediate action by providing your personal details
  • Asks you to participate in a survey where you have to enter your personal details
  • Says that your account has been compromised or that there has been third-party activity on your account and prompts you to enter or confirm your account information
  • Asks you to submit your username, password, token password, PIN or account numbers in an email or on a non-secure website page
  • Asks you to confirm, verify, or refresh your account or address details


Declutter your devices

Channel decluttering guru Marie Kondo and delete all the apps on your phone that you never or rarely use. Not only will you save space on your phone, you’ll also have less online profiles through which your personal data can be stolen. Ditto for those photos and memes just taking up space. Also delete or close unused social media accounts (be honest, are you ever really going to get into Snapchat?).


Declutter your posts

Remember, there’s no real delete button when it comes to the Internet. Anything you post (a comment, photograph or video) may stay online. Forever. Even if you delete the original post or content, you won’t be deleting copies people may have made or shared. That’s why you should be careful about sharing personal information online that scammers could potentially use to target you, such as your home address or phone number.

The rule of thumb is simple: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom or employer to see (as well as scammers!). In the unprecedented times we are living in, everyone is tempted to join in the conversation. But remember, if you create or share fake news about COVID-19, you will be liable for prosecution. Always verify information before sharing it.


Update your software and passwords

When last did you run your antivirus software? Make sure you update software regularly. Get into the habit of regularly scanning any storage devices, such as a hard drive or USB. Never open a suspicious link or an email from an unfamiliar sender. And only use licensed software on your computer.

While you’re being diligent, change all your passwords. Regularly updating your passwords reduces your risk of exposure and deflects several dangers. And no, you shouldn’t use the same password for different platforms and accounts.  


 Switch on your privacy settings

Both marketers and hackers can learn a lot about you from your browsing history and social media usage. Make sure you take precautions. Facebook, for example, has a privacy-enhancing setting. Check to see if it is activated on your account.

Don’t forget to switch off the geolocation on your phone camera. By default, it records all geographic data. This might be useful when you’re looking for the photos you took while on holiday in the Kruger National Park, but it’s a bad idea when you share photos of your new house or baby on social media. When it’s on, any photograph you post online can be traced back to your location. You can find this under the settings on your phone.


Think before you click

Unfortunately, hackers and scammers are opportunistic, and many of them are taking advantage of the fact that we are all spending more time online. When you browse, make sure that you are on the site you intended to be on. Avoid suspicious websites, pop-up windows and toolbars offering free stuff (remember, nothing is for free). Clicking on them can expose your device to a world of problems.  

Always treat emails and pop-up windows that ask for your personal details with suspicion. If you’re worried that you have opened something that has exposed you, run an immediate virus scan on your computer.


Be safe, bank from home

Although we all have to do our part and stay at home during lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t do your banking. Use the Capitec app to pay people and accounts, buy airtime or electricity, email bank statements and manage debit orders.

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