We’re entering the festive season, and that means lots of expenses as we buy gifts for our loved ones and prepare for the holidays and end of year celebrations. And with all the online platforms available to us these days, we don’t have to bulk up our wallets or purses with bundles of cash anymore.
The constant evolution of technology has made life easy by allowing us to perform our transactions digitally. It has also spawned countless online stores in which we can shop for our favorite things from the comfort of our homes, using our computers or phones. We can also easily make our payments through bank transfers or via mobile wallets such as MTN’s Mobile Money and Airtel Money.
As convenient as digital transactions are, however, we still need to be careful, vigilant and alert, lest we fall victim to related cybercrimes such as fraud, the most common one. Even when shopping in person, when making payments with our debit or credit cards, we should keep them in view at all times and never let the vendor walk out of sight with them. It’s also vital to double-check that the correct amount of money has been charged before approving any transaction.
We also need to stay aware of our surroundings when withdrawing money from an ATM, or paying from our mobile wallets. We never know who’s watching, so our PINs and passwords must always be safely hidden from prying eyes as we use them to access our digital accounts.
And last but not least, let’s continue to transact digitally with only trusted and certified online platforms that are held accountable by law to act honestly and provide exactly what they have advertised. In the case of any unfortunate situation such as being defrauded or having our credentials stolen, we have a platform on which to report, and also be able to have any further transactions blocked.
The fight against cybercrime by us all is ongoing, and as long as we maintain safe online behaviors and help others in our families and communities, we can protect ourselves and each other. So, let’s make the best of the coming joyous season as we remain aware and keep the above in mind.
For more information, visit www.getsafeonline.org.rw
Be safe, be alert, be smart and enjoy the festivities.
Maurice Haesen Kajangwe – Senior Technologist, Privacy & Data Protection, Ministry of ICT and Innovation
Sarah Sawrey-Cookson – Communications Director, Get Safe Online