Handphone Scams Are Soaring; Here’s What You Must Do

As shopping and payment transactions can be smoothly done through the power of your fingertips, about S$443 billion were spent in 2014’s mobile transactions – all over the world. But while digital wallets increase in popularity, so does the risk of scams.

What are handphone or mobile phone scams anyway? Handphone scams involve a variety of dishonest tactics, such as persuading you to buy a non-existent product or making you sign up to expensive subscription services, that are done for the scammer’s own profit.

According to Scams Singapore, a blog dedicated to identify and relay information about the existing frauds, common handphone scams occur when an unknown number contacts you and tells you to collect your prize or to pay for your kidnapped relative. With innovative ways to communicate and connect, the risk of scams rises. This is why it is important to stay vigilant and take preventative steps such as these:

1. PICKING PASSWORDS

When deciding which password you can use for your phone, do not choose the common ones such as 1234, 1111, or 0000. Also, you must change as often as possible.

For your mobile banking, maximize the use of your privacy settings by using two-factor authentication. Furthermore, do not make the security questions easy to answer because the scammers can just access your social media accounts.

2. OPENING ATTACHMENTS

To avoid downloading virus or other malware, only open attachments that were given by your friends, family, partners, and clients. Avoid phishing messages (i.e., when an unknown number asks for your bank account details). Simply, if you do not recognize the sender’s number and the area code is not +65 (i.e., Singapore’s area code) then, it is most likely a scam.

Image Credits: Antti Kultanen via Flickr with Creative Commons

Image Credits: Antti Kultanen via Flickr with Creative Commons

3. DOWNLOADING APPS

When downloading Smartphone Apps, opt for the Apps that are available on the official retailers such as the iTunes or Google Play stores. Otherwise, there is a possibility of downloading bugs, virus or other malware. Downloading a tracking App for your devices is helpful in case you get robbed.

Sources: 1, 2, & 3

 

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Save Cash By Reusing These Vintage Things

Have you heard of the saying: “out with the old and in with the new”? If you have and you strongly believe in it then, let me change your mind with these vintage or old things that you can still reuse:

1. CLOTHES

You can recycle your gorgeously patterned old clothes by sewing it into pillowcases or teapot covers. On the other hand, you can accept mint condition hand-me-downs from family and friends especially those who have baby clothes or infant toys. Do not be too picky. These said items are not utilized a lot since babies grow significantly every day anyway.

2. PIECES OF FURNITURE

There are plenty of used pieces of furniture that you can greatly score online. Try searching for drawers, tables, chairs, and closets at singapore.craigslist.com.sg or carousell.com.

Alternatively, do not be shy to ask your friends or neighbors if they are giving away any pre-owned furniture. Be careful or do avoid the articles with fabric (e.g., couch) to prevent getting bed bugs into your home.

3. DESIGNER BAGS

Pre-loved bags that long-lived across time can be found in online shops too! With prices that are up to 80% lower than the retail price, how can you resist an online bargain deal? Start with the trusted retail websites such as madammilan.com.sg and reebonz.com.sg.

What is special about these vintage bags is that they give a one-of-a-kind twist in the modern fashion.

4. CARRIER BAGS

Give your carrier bags a chance by recycling them! Plastic bags can be reused at home as the bin bags around the flat while paper bags make as a simple wrapping paper.

5. BOOKS AND MAGAZINES

Save more money by purchasing secondhand books or magazines that still look practically new. Start with purchasing good condition used books at Evernew Bookstore, Bras Basah Complex. Evernew Bookstore has a full collection of non-fiction books, fiction books, textbooks, children’s books, and so much more.

Image Credits: Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon via Flickr with Creative Commons License

Image Credits: Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon via Flickr with Creative Commons License

Another option of browsing books and magazines would not cost you a thing! Go to your neighborhood public library and flip through a nice book or two.

 

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How to Prevent Fraud When Shopping Online

Online Fraud

Online shopping is finally catching up in Asia, and with it the use of credit cards. Credit cards are one of the best ways to get discounts and rewards. You can even compare credit cards in Singapore to find the best one for you.

However, using a credit card for online shopping brings about the danger of identity theft. Here’s how to prevent your credit card account from getting into the wrong hands:

  1.  Avoid Storing Your Credit Card Information

Often, what gets stolen is not your card details but your access to a particular website. If your credit card details are saved on this web account, the thief can then use it to make purchases. For example:

You sign up for an account with an online shopping site (this can range from the App store on your tablet to a retailer’s online store). You are asked to key in your credit card details, which are then automatically saved for your convenience. That way, you won’t have to key it in again on your next purchase.

That sounds like a good idea. But should someone gain access to your shopping account, they may then be able to buy using your credit card, and send the goods to an alternate location (which may very well be in a different country).

To prevent this, avoid storing the credit card information on your shopping accounts. It may be inconvenient, but it’s safer. It also helps in stopping impulse purchases.

  1. Look for Security Signs

Look for the “secure website” logo, a little padlock, which normally appears at the bottom of the browser window. A legitimate e-commerce site should also begin with http://. If the beginning of the address says anything else, you should navigate away and avoid purchases.

You should also observe corporate and brand logos carefully–a common trick is to set up a fake website that vaguely resembles the real thing. Any information you key in is then sent to the identity thief who built the site.

When in doubt, Google the website you are making purchases from. Look for any negative reviews or scam warnings.

  1. Never Pay for Anything by E-Mailing Your Bank Account or Credit Card Details

No legitimate payment portal will require you to e-mail your bank account or credit card numbers. If you receive this request, you are almost assuredly on a scam website. Not only should you navigate away, you should have your computer brought to an expert and scanned for spyware.

  1. Be Stingy with Your Personal Details, However Trivial You Think It Is

Identity thieves can gain access to your computer with nothing more than your NRIC number, address, and phone number. A common way to get this is through scam dating sites–you think you’re filling in details for a dating profile, but you’re really just feeding details to a thief who’s slowly sniffing out your credit card numbers.

Note that, once your credit card number is stolen, chasing down the site owners (an almost impossible task) is useless. These websites often do not use your card information themselves, but sell your data to identity thieves via onion sites.

  1. Call Your Friends Directly if You Get Weird E-Mails From Them

A common tactic is to hack someone’s computer, and then e-mail their contacts to ask for money for an “emergency”.

If your friend’s computer has been hacked, for example, you might get a strange request asking you to send your credit card details because she is trapped in a foreign country, is in an accident, will pay you back tonight, etc.

Call your friend to verify this, and if you can’t get through, seek confirmation from her family or other acquaintances. Do not send your credit card details. If you really need to send money urgently, insist on doing in cash and in person (e.g. no purchasing of iTunes cards or online game currency for transfers.)

  1. Do Not Store or Write Down Your Credit Card Details

There is seldom a good reason to write down your credit card details, or to store them in your phone, hard drive, etc.

If you make a habit of doing this, even a lost phone or discarded computer (on which you may have forgotten to delete the file) can give away your credit card access. It is quite common for identity thieves to acquire “junk” machines and search intact hard drives, in the hopes of coming across sensitive financial information.

Every place on which you record your credit card details gives identity thieves another point of access.

Ultimately, credit cards are a safe, convenient form of payment. With them, you can get a range of money saving benefits–you’ll just have to be careful on how and where you use them.

How to compare credit cards to get the best? There are price comparison sites for credit cards that allow you to find the most suitable card for you.

(This article is brought to you by SingSaver.)

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5 Simple Ways To Renovate Your Tiny Flat Without Spending Too Much

It is no secret that most of the flats available in Singapore are relatively small. It is done so as to expand the area available in our wonderful country. Aside from condominiums, HDB flats, ranging from 45 to 110 square meters, are the popular choice of the masses.

Whether you recently got off your parent’s estate or you relocated in the city center, the limited space of a flat can pose different challenges ahead. To live comfortably in it, here is the “5 Simple Ways To Renovate Your Tiny Flat Without Spending Too Much”:

1. SHOP AT IKEA

This Swedish super brand is a hub for home decorating while on a budget. IKEA’s two Singapore stores sell multiple organizational items and furniture that are perfect for small living spaces. For example, you may purchase the BRIMNES slim mirror with 4 storage squares for S$99 or the BYGEL removable dish drainer for only S$6.90.

What’s more? You can get free #homeinspo from their in-store displays or website catalogs.

2. AFFIX YOUR APPLIANCES TO THE WALL

Instead of getting huge drawers for the flat screen television or microwave oven, mount or affix them on the wall. This inexpensive trick is a surefire space saver for a small-scale kitchen or living room.

3. ADD MIRRORS

Adding mirrors to a modest room can make it appear bigger. Wide and oversized mirrors can fool the eyes by reflecting more light and by brightening the room. Save money by mounting two 70×70 cm IKEA STAVE mirrors costing to S$29.90 each.

4. OPT FOR SOFA BEDS

Buying a mattress, a headboard, and a bed frame can be costly and space consuming. Opt for a sofa bed instead. For about S$100, you can purchase a multi-purpose coach that expands into a bed for yourself or your guests.

5. NO-COST VISUAL DISTRACTIONS

You can easily maximize your space for free! All you have to do is to create visual distractions. Keep the room bright by opening the curtains. Then, make room for more by fixing your furniture diagonally.

Image Credits: Jim Cramer via Flickr with Creative Commons License (Attribution-NoDerivs)

Image Credits: Jim Cramer via Flickr with Creative Commons License (Attribution-NoDerivs)

Sources:1 & 2

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How To Keep Employees Happy And Efficient At The Workplace

Beyond costly monetary benefits, you can keep your employees happy and productive at the workplace by knowing the underlying factors that induce motivation. Daniel Pink, the renowned author of “Drive” book, highlighted that the three elements of motivation include purpose, autonomy, and mastery.

Applying these elements realistically, here are the three key ways to keep your employees efficient and happy:

1. HAVE A SOCIAL PURPOSE

Having a meaningful cause larger than oneself drives the deepest motivation. Generation Y employees, in particular, want to feel that their work is making a difference. This is why they are drawn to work or patronize products of TOMS. TOMS is company that equates their sales into helping people in developing countries. For example, whenever they sell a pair of shoes, a new pair of shoes will be given to a needy child.

Even if your company does not include a direct social mission in the system, you must do your best to practice altruism. Have the social responsibility to donate to charity whenever possible.

2. MAKE ROOM FOR EMPLOYEE AUTONOMY

I am sure that no one enjoys being micromanaged especially in a small business! Employees work happiest and most efficient when they have personal control over the situation as they can freely express their creativity and solve the problems by themselves. When employees feel that they are able to make tangible impact to the company through regular brainstorming, they are more likely to give their all for the company.

3. GIVE EDUCATION AND FEEDBACK

Mastery is formed when there is a comprehensive knowledge or skill built in the company. Employers can hone mastery by encouraging further training or education as well as conducting regular performance feedback. A sense of progress in oneself contributes to the inner workplace motivation. Allow your employees to grow by empowering a new responsibility. Everyone wants to feel that they are getting better at things.

Image Credits: AJC ajcann.wordpress.com via Flickr With Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike

Image Credits: AJC ajcann.wordpress.com via Flickr With Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike

Sources: 1 & 2

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