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13 tips to keep safe from banking fraud

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As the festive season draws near, cybercriminals will pull out all the tricks to try and cheat consumers out of their cash. YOLANDE STEYN, Head of Innovation at FNB, offers some tips to stay safe online.

“Cybercrime is becoming increasingly sophisticated with fraudsters constantly finding new ways of carrying out their unlawful conduct, especially during busy periods like the festive season. Consumers should therefore be extra vigilant with their banking information and login details at all times,” says Yolande Steyn, Head of Innovation at FNB.

While the rapid growth of technology presents us with boundless opportunities, it also requires vigilance to prevent consumers and business being vulnerable to cybercrime. “As a responsible financial services provider, we have, therefore, taken upon ourselves the obligation to constantly educate and inform consumers about the many ways that fraudsters use the internet to try and rip them off,” adds Steyn.

She shares the following tips on how consumers can protect themselves against digital banking fraud this festive season:

·            Always keep your PIN and password secure. If you think your PIN or password has been compromised, change it immediately either on the FNB App, Online banking or at your nearest ATM or branch.

·            Remember to change your passwords and PIN’s regularly.

·            Never use the same username and password for banking as you use on other apps and websites like social media and email.

·            Download the FNB App to keep track of your accounts and transactions and have additional security with you 24/7. From a security point of view you can approve legitimate transactions and stop fraudulent Online Banking transactions, report fraud for any suspicious transactions, and temporarily block or cancel your cards.

·            Log on to your bank’s website by typing in the web address yourself instead of accessing it via Google search as this may lead you to a spoofed site.

·            Always do internet banking on a secure computer that you regularly use at home or work. Never do Online Banking in public areas such as Internet Cafe’s or shared computers, as you can never know what software is loaded that may compromise your transactions.

·            Download free Trend Antivirus and Antimalware for your computer and/or smartphone. Login to FNB Online Banking and click the link at the bottom of the screen to download and activate your free antivirus and antimalware.

·            Update your smartphone and computer with the latest software and app updates.

·            Monitor your cellphone reception. If you have lost signal for an unusually long time, you may be a victim of sim swop fraud. Immediately contact FNB’s 24/7 Fraud Line on 087 575 9444 to report a suspected Sim Swop.

·            Never open suspicious or unfamiliar e-mails or attachments, and never click on links in emails or SMS’s. Criminals make emails and SMS look legitimate and often bait you with scare tactics to confirm your account details or to login to prevent your account from being closed. They even incentive you to win something or get something for free in order to get access to your account.

·            Criminals may sometimes call you and pretend to be from your bank, service provider or a reputable retailer. During this conversation they may ask you to verify personal and banking information. It will be safer for you to hang up and call the company directly to verify if the call is legitimate.

·            Only make online purchases with your card on reputable websites that are verified as secure sites (look for the lock icon in your browser and ensure that the address starts with https://).

·            Never save usernames, passwords or PINs on your cellphone or computer as it may allow others to access your banking without your permission.

Although the above tips are by no means conclusive, they will go a long to ensure that consumers keep their money safe over the festive period. “We urge our customers to familiarise themselves with the content of our security pages which can be located in the security centre on the FNB website,” says Steyn.

“Taking the necessary measures to protect yourself against online banking fraud can give you peace of mind knowing that you can have a stress free festive season with your loved ones,” she says.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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