This holiday season, sales on various products and services are just around the corner.
With just few clicks in the computer and gentle tapping of fingers in mobile phones and tablets, one can avail these season's sales because of technology.
As technology provides a convenient way for people to access goods and services, it can also be dangerous if it is not used responsibly and carefully.
Though sometimes careful, the public still encounter scammers and fraudulent business practices and become one of the victims.
In order to avoid being a possible victim of online scams and frauds this Christmas season, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Pangasinan advised all online users to always keep these words in mind, "Think, before you click" and "Know the safe and secure processes in online transactions."
"When it comes to online transactions, may it be an online shopping, online banking and using of social media applications, the public should always be vigilant in order not to be victimized," said Natalia Dalaten, officer-in-charge provincial director of DTI-Pangasinan.
Dalaten said to avoid becoming one of the victims of these online scams and frauds, consumers should remember and follow some safety tips from DTI for their safe and secure online transactions.
First, use original, different and complex passwords for all accounts. It can take only 10 minutes to crack a lowercase password with six characters. Password should be longer and a combination of lowercase and uppercase alpha-numeric characters.
Second, set passcodes on all devices because without it, applications, tickets, contacts, payment transactions and personal information can be readily available to scammers if in case the device gets lost.
Third, check and update privacy settings in social media and avoid sharing personal information online.
Fourth, always set passwords for access to Wi-Fi network to know who shares with one's network.
Fifth, watch out for emails offering investments and rewards that are too good to be true.
Sixth, beware of unusual email attachments and links.
Seventh, avoid sharing unnecessary personal details online and use temporary e-mail addresses that will expire within a certain amount of time when signing up to one-off services.
Eighth, transact with reputable and trusted websites. Look for secured website. Secured website addresses always start with 'https:' and an icon of locked padlocks.
Ninth, turn on automatic updates for all devices to secure accounts. Hackers exploit out-of-date software and operating systems to launch cyber-attacks.
Lastly, make sure to install and update firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spy software.
Dalaten added that consumers should also know and take note of the following so called "red flags" on online shopping fraud and be vigilant enough in transmitting any personal information being asked.
Here are the following "red flags" in online shopping: products advertised at very low prices compared to other websites; poor consumer ratings and feedbacks; online sellers who ask customers to pay by money transfer service or direct to their bank account rather than through the site's preferred payment method; websites with limited or no information about privacy and their terms and conditions of use; and websites with no contact details such as physical address and telephone number.
Likewise, Dalaten added that if in doubt if the transactions, investments and promotions offered online might be scam or fraudulent, it is better for the public to check it with the DTI office in Pangasinan located at the 2nd Floor of Star Building, Arellano Street in Dagupan City.
The public may also call DTI-Pangasinan at telephone numbers (075) 515-3183 or 529-6177 or send an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information or inquiries. (AMB/EMBS/PIA Pangasinan)