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Kiwis need to prioritise online security during Black Friday sales

Mastercard is urging New Zealanders to prioritise their online security during Black Friday this week. 

The company says with three out of five Kiwis now shopping online and 70% storing at least one card online or in an app, Black Friday sales are a timely reminder for New Zealanders to remain alert to online fraud as they take advantage of great deals in the virtual shopping aisles.

This year more Kiwis than ever are expected to participate in the annual Black Friday sales, MasterCard says. In 2018, New Zealand Black Friday surpassed Boxing Day sales, making it no longer just an adopted American tradition, but more the unofficial kick-off for serious Christmas gift buying.

 In response, Mastercard has launched Staying Safe Online: Cyber Safety Guide for New Zealand Shoppers. The guide shares case studies and practical tips on how Kiwis can protect their information and devices while shopping online.

Online spending is growing at a faster rate than traditional payments and with 23 billion connected devices globally, many of the consumer experiences throughout Black Friday and the coming holiday period will be online. It is now more important than ever for Kiwi consumers and retailers to prioritise cyber security, Mastercard says.

“The word “fake” is becoming overused, but as consumers it’s important to ensure we’re purchasing from safe and genuine sites when transacting online," says Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin.

"Although fake sites and scams have become more sophisticated over time, it’s not that hard to protect yourself. The Staying Safe Online Cyber Safety Guide for New Zealand Shoppers provides great advice for avoiding the fakes,” she explains. 
Nicola Sladden, Banking Ombudsman, says she strongly encourages all consumers to follow the safety tips in the guide to keep safe online. 

"It is important to stop and check that you are dealing with a legitimate business if it sounds too good to be true. Don’t be rushed into the purchase,” she says. 

As consumers look to make the most of the discounts Black Friday offers, Mastercard is aiming to offer consumers peace of mind by not only giving them simple and practical tips, but online tools to guarantee their payments and identity are secure while shopping online.

 Ruth Riviere, country manager, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Mastercard, says that while consumers need to do their bit to keep themselves safe, Mastercard is working with New Zealand businesses to provide the first line of defence to help ensure customers have a safe and secure online experience.

“More and more consumers are choosing online shopping due to the ease and convenience of electronic payments. However, with this comes increased opportunities for criminals to commit scams and fraud,” Riviere says. 

“Payment tech companies like Mastercard do a lot more than providing a gateway to online purchases. Mastercard helps merchants by providing authenticated payment systems including additional authentication methods, which help protect their customers and themselves," she explains. 

"Services like Mastercard Zero Liability card protection protect consumers from fraud to ensure their money is safe providing a safety net."

Riviere says Mastercard is experiencing an increased interest in tokenisation in New Zealand. 

"The tokenisation technology allows customers to safely store their card information on file with a business by replacing card numbers with a unique digital token. This token is useless if stolen. There are also two-factor authentication methods available to confirm the digital identity of customers including one-time passcodes or biometrics like a fingerprint," she explains. 

"These next generation tools are simple to use and provide greater peace of mind.

“Retailers should be encouraged to embrace online services that maximise the online shopping experience. More than eight out of ten Kiwi retailers report being open to this additional level of security as it makes their customers feel more confident when purchasing online,” says Riviere.

Top 10 tips from The Staying Safe Online: Cyber Safety Guide for New Zealand Shoppers include:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for each online account and update them regularly – don’t store passwords on your computer
  • Never send your bank or credit card details via email
  • Don’t use public computers or Wi-Fi networks to do online banking, make purchases or access your personal information
  • Install security software on your device and ensure it is up-to-date to protect against the latest threats and remember to back-up your computer and mobile devices regularly
  • Use your device’s automatic update feature to install new application and operating system updates as soon as they are available
  • Ensure your device does not automatically connect to new networks without your confirmation
  • Check your privacy and security settings on your social networking profile and never give away your account details
  • Look for the padlock – only enter your payment details into a secure web page. A secure web page has ‘https://’ at the beginning of the address bar and a picture of a locked padlock in the browser
  • Check that you are dealing with a trusted, reliable business by confirming their company details and researching online feedback and complaints
  • Check your account statements – including credit cards, bank statements, telephone and internet bills – for possible fraudulent activity
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