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‘Think before you click’, shop safe online this holiday season

It is the time of the year again when various shops and retailers offer sales promotions and big discounts for a wide range of different products and services.
 
However, those offers of big discounts and sales this holiday season are ‘opportunities’ when most people are being victimized by fraudulent business practices especially through online transactions.
 
As online transactions provide a convenient way to access goods and services, the public should always be mindful and responsible when using online platforms to avoid becoming a victim of scam.
 
This Christmas season, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Pangasinan advised the public to shop safely and securely online by always keeping these words in mind, “Think, Before You Click”.
 
Natalia Dalaten, provincial director of DTI-Pangasinan, advised the public to always be vigilant in online shopping, online banking, and using social media applications. 
 
Here are some safety tips for safe and secure online transactions:
 
· Verify the legitimacy of the online stores through their valid permits and registration issued by DTI or other government offices.
 
· When buying products or services, the public should not enter in a transaction that requires "pay first'' before receiving the product and always choose a cash-on-delivery transaction, if possible.
 
· Do not be easily swayed by the gifts that the online store offers with the purchase of the product and always read the reviews of the previous buyers.
 
·Watch out for products and rewards that are advertised at very low prices compared to other websites.
 
·Check the website of the online store for information about privacy and their terms and conditions of use including their contact details such as physical address and telephone numbers.
 
·Avoid providing financial information such as account number or credit card information especially if it will not be used to pay for the transaction.
 
·Use original and different complex passwords for all your accounts used in online transactions. Passwords should be longer and a combination of lowercase and uppercase alpha-numeric characters.
 
·Check and update your privacy settings in social media and avoid sharing unnecessary personal details online.
 
·Always set passwords for access to your Wi-Fi network and avoid connecting to public networks.
 
·Beware of unusual email attachments and links.
 
·Transact with reputable and trusted websites. Trusted website addresses always start with ‘https:’ and an icon of locked padlocks.
 
·Make sure to install and update firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spy software.
 
Dalaten added that if in doubt if the transactions, investments and promotions offered online might be scam or fraudulent, the public are advised to visit the nearest Negosyo Center in their area.
 
She said the public can also check the online promotions with the DTI office near them.
 
In Pangasinan, the DTI office is located on the 2nd floor of Star Building, Arellano St. in Dagupan City.
 
The public may also call DTI Pangasinan at telephone numbers (075) 551-3183 or 636-3975 or send an email at R01.pangasinan@dti.gov.ph for additional information or inquiries. (JCR/AMB/EMSA/PIA Pangasinan)
 

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Elsha Marie Arguel

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