Fraud syndicates are likely preparing to pounce as shoppers throw caution to the wind in the Black Friday shopping frenzy, warns Ideco Biometrics CEO MARIUS COETZEE.
The Black Friday sale tradition is gaining momentum in South Africa, with leading retailers promising significant discounts from Friday, 24 November, through to Cyber Monday on 27 November.
For many consumers, the discounts will prove too tempting for caution as they happily part with their personal information and hand over their credit cards to snap up the deals on offer, says Ideco Biometrics CEO Marius Coetzee.
“Fraud syndicates are sophisticated and very well organised, with individuals and businesses losing billions of rands to fraudsters every year. The moment a consumer drops his or her guard, they risk having their personal and banking information duplicated or shared and misused to carry out fraudulent transactions or deplete the victim’s bank account,” Coetzee warns.
The key to safe shopping this Black Friday is to stay vigilant and watch your credit card, he says.
Online shopping can be safer than bricks and mortar shops
“It might surprise some shoppers to discover that online shopping can be safer than using your credit card at a restaurant or retail outlet. When you hand over your physical credit card, it is very easy for fraudsters to ‘skim’ the card – presenting it to a card reader at the bottom of the point of sale device. This information can be shared across a syndicate within minutes, and by the time the victim becomes aware of the problem, their account could have been drained,” he says.
Coetzee recommends keeping an eye on your card throughout the transaction. “Giving your card to someone who walks away with it to a point of sale terminal is asking for problems. Many reputable retailers now allow customers to conclude their own transactions by entering the card into the point of sale device. This is typically the safest option, allowing the consumer to stay in control of their own card and personal information.”
Guard your identity
While reputable online retailers go to great lengths to ensure a secure environment for transactions, there are some potential risks in buying online or over the ‘phone, mostly because of consumers’ willingness to share personal information with strangers.
“Your identity – your personal information – is the key to accessing your home and your bank account, so you have to be cautious about who you share it with,” says Coetzee. One way to be sure you’re sharing your information with a trusted online retailer is to initiate the engagement and the purchase, he says.
“If you initiate the process by going to a reputable online retailer’s website or calling a company’s contact centre, you know who you’re engaging with. Whereas if you click on a link you’ve been sent via email to start shopping, or you share personal information with someone who calls you on the ‘phone, you have no way of knowing for sure who you are giving your information to.”
“It’s safest not to answer questions from people pushing a sales effort to you – rather ask them to confirm the information they have about you. If they don’t have your details, be careful of confirming your personal identity information,” he says.
“It’s commonly accepted that when you drop your guard is when fraudsters will strike. So on Black Friday, when everyone is distracted in the rush to grab the best deal, they need to exercise caution and guard their information,” he says.
Ideco, a pioneer in identity management solutions, is leading efforts to introduce advanced new identity management systems to South Africa to reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft
Mobile is the new branch
Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month
Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.
MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.
“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.
“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”
She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.
“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history.
“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”
The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.
“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel.
“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.
From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”
Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses
With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.
Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.
Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.
On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.
A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.
“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.
To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:
- Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
- Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
- Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
- Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
- Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.