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Watch out for these eight digital bank scams

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As access to banking services through digital channels continues to grow, so does the need to protect consumers against the prevalence of online banking fraud, YOLANDE STEYN, Head of Innovation at FNB, outlines eight scams to watch out for.

“We view security as an integral part of a seamless online banking experience,” says Yolande Steyn, Head of Innovation at FNB. “Therefore, due to the prevalence of banking scams, we urge consumers to be more vigilant and familiarise themselves with the different types of online banking fraud.

“FNB proactively closes down fraudulent phishing websites used by criminals to try and access customers’ confidential banking details.”

Steyn outlines the latest online banking scams that target consumers:

Flight purchase debit scams – you will receive an SMS informing you of a flight purchase debited to your account. Fraudsters will request you to select a link in the SMS to revise the transaction.

When you select the link, you will be redirected to a fake FNB website. You are then redirected to an ‘Update and Confirm Details’ screen requesting more information to be verified. The fraudsters will now be in a position to access your banking profile.

Social media scams – beware of fraudsters pretending to represent FNB or RB Jacobs on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or any other social media platform. We will never ask for your credit or cheque card, account number, online banking login details or password or One Time PIN (OTP) on social media platforms. FNB’s official social media accounts are @FNBSA and @RBJacobs on Twitter and FNBSA on Facebook. The official accounts also display a blue tick indicating that they are verified.

Change of banking details scam – you will receive an email that pretends to come from one of your suppliers asking you to update your banking details. Beware of this even if it is on the supplier’s letterhead.

Contact your supplier on the number that you already have for them and not the one on the fraudulent letter. Speak to someone you know at the supplier to confirm the change in banking details.

Copy of payment notification scam – you will receive an email requesting you to open a copy of your payment notification. Fraudsters will prompt you to login via the email attachment.

When you open the attachment in the email, you will be redirected to a fake FNB website. In an attempt to steal your banking details you will be requested to login. As soon as you enter your login details on the screen, you are redirected to a successfully logged out screen. The fraudsters will now be in a position to access your banking profile.

419 scams – this is communication by e-mail to a recipient making an offer that would result in a large pay off for the recipient. The details vary and large amounts of money are usually involved. Invariably, the victims’ banking details as well as sums of money are said to be required in advance in order to facilitate the payment of the funds. Essentially, the promised money transfer never happens and in addition the fraudsters may use the victims’ banking details to withdraw money for themselves.

Vishing and smishing scams – this is phishing, but instead of being lured to a fake website via email, you receive a call or SMS, where the individual pretends to be from the bank or other companies and gets you to disclose personal information such as your ID number, address, account number, username, login details, password and PIN. This information can also be used to gain unauthorised access to your banking account online.

OTP Email Fraud using various methods of phishing, criminals also try to get access to your email accounts, commonly Gmail, Yahoo, etc. They produce fake login sites that look like Gmail or Yahoo. Once they have your email username and password, they have access to your emails (statements, personal communications) and this helps a criminal to build a social profile of you. Criminals can also intercept One Time Pins (OTPs) that are sent to emails once they have access to your email account.

OTP SIM Swop Fraud – once criminals are in possession of your username and password, they can easily access your accounts on Online Banking. They can also contact your service provider to do a Sim Swop which basically means that they hijack your sim and have access to your SMS. This also gives them access to your One Time Pin (OTP).

“Remember, the bank will never ask for your username, password or PIN in an email, SMS, social media or phone call,” says Steyn. “Never select a link to our website that was sent via email. Always type in the web address.”

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Samsung unleashes the beast

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Most new smartphone releases of the past few years have been like cat-and-mouse games with consumers and each other. It has been as if morsels of cheese are thrown into the box to make it more interesting: a little extra camera here, a little more battery there, and incremental changes to size, speed (more) and weight (less). Each change moves the needle of innovation ever-so-slightly. Until we find ourselves, a few years later, with a handset that is revolutionary compared to six years ago, but an anti-climax relative to six months before.

And then came Samsung. Probably stung by the “incremental improvement” phrase that has become almost a cliché about new Galaxy devices, the Korean giant chose to unleash a beast last week.

The new Galaxy Note 9 is not only the biggest smartphone Samsung has ever released, but one of the biggest flagship handsets that can still be called a phone. With a 6.4” display, it suddenly competes with mini-tablets and gaming consoles, among other devices that had previously faced little contest from handsets.

It offers almost ever cutting edge introduced to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones earlier this year, including the market-leading f1.5 aperture lens, and an f2.4. telephoto lens, each weighing in at 12 Megapixels. The front lens is equally impressive, with an f1.7 aperture – first introduced on the Note 8 as the widest yet on a selfie camera.

So far, so S9. However, the Note range has always been set apart by its S Pen stylus, and each edition has added new features. Born as a mere pen that writes on screens, it evolved through the likes of pressure sensitivity, allowing for artistic expression, and cut-and-paste text with translation-on-the-fly.

(Click here or below to read more about the Samsung Galaxy S Pen stylus) Samsung Galaxy S9 Features)

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SA ride permit system ‘broken’

Despite the amendments to the National Land Transport Act, ALON LITS, General Manager, Uber in Sub Saharan Africa, believes that many premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

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The spirit and intention of the amendments to the National Land Transport Act No 5  (NLTA), 2009 put forward by the Ministry of Transport are to be commended. It is especially pleasing that these amendments include ridesharing and e-hailing operators and drivers as legitimate participants in the country’s public transport system, which point to government’s willingness to embrace the changes and innovation taking place in the country’s transport industry.

However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that are, at best, premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

Of particular concern are the significant financial penalties that will need to be paid by ridesharing and e-hailing companies whose independent operators are found to be transporting passengers without a legal permit issued by the relevant local authority. These fines can be as high as R100 000 per driver operating without a permit. Apart from being an excessive penalty it is grossly unfair given that a large number of local authorities don’t yet have functioning permit issuing systems and processes in place.

The truth is that the operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. The application and issuance processes for operating licenses are fundamentally flawed and subject to extensive delays, sometimes over a year in length.  This situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for applicants whose permit applications haven’t yet been approved to get reasons for the extensive delays on the issuing of those permits.

Uber has had extensive first-hand experience with the frustratingly slow process of applying for these permits, with drivers often having to wait months and, in some cases more than a year, for their permits.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of urgency amongst local authorities to prioritise fixing the flawed permit issuing systems and processes or address the large, and growing, backlogs of permit applications. As such, in order for the proposed stringent permit enforcement rules to be effective and fair to all role players, the long-standing issues around permit issuance first need to be addressed. At the very least, before the proposed legislation amendments are implemented, the National Transport Ministry needs to address the following issues:

  1. Efficient processes and systems must be put in place in all local authorities to allow drivers to easily apply for the operating permits they require
  2. Service level agreements need to be put in place with local authorities whereby they are required to assess applications and issue permits within the prescribed 60-day period.
  3. Local authorities need to be given deadlines by which their current permit application backlogs must be addressed to allow for faster processing of new applications once the amendments are promulgated.

If the Transport Ministry implements the proposed legislation amendments before ensuring that these permit issuance challenges are addressed, many drivers will be faced with the difficult choice of either having to operate illegally whilst awaiting their approved permits and risking significant fines and/or arrest, or stopping operations until they receive their permits, thereby losing what is, for many of them, their only source of income.

As such, if the Ministry of Transport is not able to address these particular challenges, it is only reasonable to ask it to reconsider this amendment and delay its implementation until the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure it does not impact negatively on the country’s transport industry. The legislators must have been aware of the challenges of passing such a significant law, as the Amendment Bill allows for the Minister to use his discretion to delay implementation of provisions for up to 5 years.

Fair trade and healthy competition are the cornerstones of any effective and growing economy. However, these clauses (Section 66 (7) and Section 66A) of the NLTA amendment, as well as the proposal that regulators be given authority to define the geographic locations or zones in which vehicles may operate, are contrary to the spirit of both. As a good corporate citizen, Uber is committed to supplementing and enhancing South Africa’s national transport system and contributing positively to the industry. If passed into law without the revisions suggested above, these new amendments will limit our business and many others from playing the supportive roles we all can, and should, in growing the SA transport and tourism industries as well as many other key economic sectors.

What’s more, if passed as they currently stand, the amendments will effectively limit South African consumers from having full access to the range of convenient transport options they deserve; which has the potential to harm the reputation and credibility of the entire transport industry.

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