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How to stay safe from cyber criminals: 30 tips

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In light of the recent massive data breach, and October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Capitec Bank has outlined thirty tips to keep consumers from becoming targets.

As the world increasingly finds itself at the mercy of clever card crooks – one in three people polled in an ACI Worldwide survey had fallen victim to card crime over the past five years – South Africans are earning themselves the dubious title of being one of the nations where risky behaviour is most prevalent.

According to the report, South Africans are some of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to leaving their phones unlocked when they’re not using them (28% of South Africans surveyed), throwing documents with account numbers in the bin (26%) and using a public computer without security software for banking online (18%).

Francois Viviers, Executive of Marketing and Communications at Capitec Bank, says that while financial institutions have teams dedicated to protecting their clients against fraud, criminals move quickly and frequently invent new ways to defraud clients and corporates. “The banking industry is very proactive in trying to put in place measures to help clients. However, clients are advised to do all they can to protect themselves against crime. Getting to know the types of crime they are at risk of and learning what risky behaviours to avoid, are good starting points.”

To help keep your money safe avoid becoming a victim, Capitec outlines the main types of crime and offers tips for consumers to protect themselves.

1.        ‘Card not present’ tips

CNP means neither you nor your card need to be present for fraudulent activity to occur, either online or telephonically. If a criminal has your stolen card or even just your card details (for a successful CNP transaction the card number, expiry date and CVV number are required), then they can make unauthorised purchases using your account.

Top tips to avoid CNP and other types of card theft:

1.       Keep your card in sight when you are paying for items

2.       Memorise your PIN – don’t share it with anyone or write it down and carry it around with you

3.       Choose an unusual PIN – not 1111 or your birthday

4.       Lock your phone

5.       Don’t respond to competition SMSs or MMSs

6.       Check the URL of every site you visit – never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link. Rather type in the URL yourself

7.       Avoid doing Internet banking in public areas like Internet Cafés

8.       Ask your bank to set up your cellphone notification service

9.       Change your passwords regularly. Don’t have the same password for everything. Password managers are often used to help manage multiple passwords

10.   Don’t throw away papers or documents with your account numbers on them. Store them in a safe place or dispose of them in such a way that they are unreadable

11.   Get familiar with your bank’s online banking service and app. If anything looks different or the URL looks suspicious, do not log in and report it to the bank immediately

12.   Reduce your card limits via the app to the absolute minimum required value. You can always increase your temporary limit via the app for larger transactions

 

2.       Phishing  

How it happens: The ACI report showed that 5% of South Africans responded to calls or emails asking for banking details in 2016. We’ve all received emails like this: Dear client, we have logged 2 or more login attempts for your account and have reason to suspect fraudulent activity. You must click through to this link and follow the steps to ensure your account is secure. While some phishing emails are obvious, the more subtle, official-looking ones make most of us hesitate and consider clicking through.

Top tips to avoid being phished:

1.       Don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognise

2.       Be wary of emails that are not personalised, have spelling errors and a sense of urgency

3.       Don’t confirm any personal or financial information over the Internet

4.       Hover your mouse over any link to see where it is going to take you

5.       Never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link in an email – rather type in the URL yourself

6.       Get reputable antivirus software and check your bank statements regularly for signs of fraud

7.       Report phishing attempts to your bank. Most banks provide an email address for their clients e.g. phishing@capitecbank.co.za

 

Vishing or telephonic phishing

How it happens: In July 2017, South Africans were warned against a vishing scam involving fake ‘employees’ from cellphone companies calling clients to confirm their details in order to block suspicious SIM swap requests. Of course, the caller already had most of the client’s information via a phishing email, and was vishing to try and get the last confidential info necessary to make a SIM swap.

Top tips to avoid being vished:

1.       Never give out confidential information like your PIN or CVV code over the phone

2.       Be suspicious of unknown callers

3.       ID spoofing is becoming increasingly easy, so don’t automatically trust caller ID

4.       Google the phone number – legitimate numbers are usually linked to credible businesses

5.       If the caller claims to work for your bank, hang up and try calling back using the number provided on your bank’s website

 

ATM incidents

How it happens: This is how a card fraud criminal (who made over R15k a day before being caught) describes his process: He goes to an ATM, pretends to draw cash, puts the machine into cardless mode and leaves his slip behind as he walks away. His victim goes to the same ATM and puts in her PIN, which he watches and remembers. She struggles to get her card to work because the ATMin cardless mode. The thief asks to reclaim his receipt, walks up to her and offers to help ‘fix’ the ATM. He cancels cardless mode, asks the victim for her card and pretends to insert it. While her eyes are on the screen, he steals the card and conceals it with his wallet.

Top tips to avoid being an ATM scam victim:

1.       Be alert at all times – criminals choose people who look distracted

2.       Look out for anyone standing close to you

3.       Never accept assistance at an ATM unless it’s from someone who works there

4.       Don’t insert your card if the screen looks strange or unfamiliar

5.       If the ATM looks like it has been tampered with, stop what you’re doing and ask a staff member for assistance

6.       If your transaction is disturbed in any way, cancel it and report the incident immediately. Change your PIN or cancel the card. If you card is lost or stolen, cancel it immediately

Arts and Entertainment

VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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