Whatever the crisis is, Christmas is still the ultimate holiday event for Filipinos. Hard times won’t ever cancel this season of celebrations and generosity. Feasting and gifting are staples which means one thing — shopping. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Kaspersky, Filipinos are the top new e-cash adopters in the Asia Pacific region at 37% followed by India (23%) and Australia (15%). Survey respondents from the region said they have used digital payments due to convenience. 

The pandemic has ushered in an extraordinary online shopping experience where window-shopping (checking out products), comparing prices before buying, and having the goods delivered right on the customer’s doorstep can all be done at home anytime with just one click.

Unfortunately, this rise in digital adoption is where cybercriminals are directing their efforts to. The recently reported sim-swap incident worth almost two million pesos in just one attempt is an example. 

Sim-swap is a scam used to intercept online banking SMS verification codes. To get hold of one-time passwords for financial transactions, cybercriminals create or fraudulently obtain a copy of the victim’s SIM card from the mobile operator. 

It’s no surprise that a third of the survey respondents (31%) in APAC admitted being concerned about losing money when it comes to making online transactions. 

 “The pandemic has triggered more people to embrace online shopping. Although physical safety is essential, the safety of our finances, devices and information is also important, especially as phishing scams become more and more sophisticated and targeted. We expect cybercriminals to continue using tricks that will lure more victims to take the bait hence this festive season, we urge everyone to put their guards up against messages, calls, and even emails asking for critical information such as account number, OTPs, passwords, and more,” said Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

Here are some practical tips from Kaspersky for online shopping: 

  1. Stick to familiar brands you know or have heard of. 
  2. If you’re checking out a new brand, research it carefully and get its contact details like email, phone number, or address. Also, look for its return policy and feedback history which are good indicators of honesty and credibility.  
  3. Ensure your online accounts are off limits to your children and restrict their access to your credit card and bank information. 
  4. Consider getting an antivirus or anti-malware protection for your device. Try Kaspersky Total Security (KTS) which has the useful Kaspersky Safe Money feature. It provides an extra layer of protection when shopping online — ensures you’re visiting a secure website, or it can open the site in a special, protected mode to prevent your passwords, credit card number, or personal data from being accessed by cybercriminals. 

Kaspersky solutions with Safe Money features such as Kaspersky Total Security and Kaspersky Internet Security are currently being offered with up to 50% discounts during the anticipated 12.12 sale at Shopee and Lazada.

While ordering online:

  1. Don’t give out any more information than is necessary to complete your purchase. Never share personal information over the phone unless you made the call. Never reply to any unsolicited request for personal information such as passwords, credit cards, or bank account numbers. 
  2. Only make payments online using safe and trusted methods. If you accidentally enter your credit or debit card information into a suspected malicious website or email, call your credit card company as soon as possible. 

When you complete an online shopping session:

  1. Always log off, especially if you share a device with someone else. 
  2. Keep a paper trail: print and save records of online transactions.
  3. Read credit card statements when you get them and check for unauthorized charges that you should report immediately. 

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