Author Archives: Gerald

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Watch out for this WhatsApp ‘scam’

Johannesburg – Responding to an SMS that advertises WhatsApp add-ons or updates could cost you hundreds of rands per month.

This is according to IT consultant and prominent technology blogger Liron Segev who has highlighted what he calls just the latest WhatsApp ‘scam’ to hit South Africa.

It starts with mobile phone users receiving an SMS from a Wireless Application Service Provider (Wasp) saying “you have not updated to the latest WhatsApp Add-ons”. The SMS then prompts the user to ‘click’ – or rather press – on a link.

Segev says “unsuspecting” victims will activate the link, which opens up the phone’s web browser and leads to a page with a big green button that says ‘continue’.

However, the risk is that users may skip over the fine print at the bottom of the web page, which details how the service will deduct R7 per day off their phone bill.

If left unnoticed, this could add over R200 to your phone bill per month. This could help these ‘Wasps’ earn large amounts of money, even if they only reach small numbers of people. In South Africa, WhatsApp has 10 million users alone, according to research from World Wide Worx and Fuseware.

“The issue is you get scams like this which are playing on the masses, sending out millions of these SMSs, hoping that a certain percentage will actually not bother to read,” Segev told Fin24.

“They’ll catch you when you’re not focusing. You’ll put a couple of clicks in; nothing will happen. You’ll think nothing of it, but then little amounts of money come off your account without you realising it,” Segev said.

Segev further told Fin24 that this type of SMS sign-up is just one of many as other companies send out text messages prompting users to deactivate or even upgrade WhatsApp.

WhatsApp can only be updated via the Google Play apps market for Android or the Apple App Store.

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Popi will impact real estate agencies

Cape Town – The recent gazetting of the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popi) – which is still to be promulgated – has far reaching implications for the business sector in SA, according to Dr Andrew Golding, CEO of Pam Golding Properties (PGP).

Passed on November 26 2013, the Act provides for the constitutional right to privacy, while protecting the free-flow of information and advancing the right of access to information.

It also regulates the manner in which personal information is processed in line with international standards.

The property sector, which is involved not only in the marketing of real estate, but also the complex process which is followed in the conclusion of property transactions, is naturally required to comply with the Act.

“We are currently in the process of identifying all aspects of the Act and understanding the new laws and how they impact on our business and every aspect of our systems,” said Golding.

“In order to ensure that we put effective measures in place and implement policies throughout the group to comply with the Act, we are already engaging with all the relevant departments and operating entities in the group, with a view to devising and introducing policy documents pertaining to the application of the new Act.”

These include aspects such as the processing and handling of personal client information, marketing, sales and operations, information technology, finance, human resources, legal, rentals and social networking.

“Among the numerous steps being undertaken is a process designed to culminate in the adoption of a comprehensive personal information policy within the PGP group, which, being a large organisation with an existing extensive central database of client information, will assist us facilitate the required controls effectively,” he said.

“In addition, all third party agreements and existing policies will also be reviewed as necessary and adapted to comply with the Act and PGP policy.”

In ensuring the protection of personal information, the Act contains eight key conditions that must be complied with when processing information, namely:

– Accountability;

– Processing limitation;

– Purpose specification;

– Further processing limitation;

– Information quality;

– Openness;

– Security safeguards;

– Data subject participation.

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The Act Regulates

  • Marketing of goods and services.
  • Warranties and guarantees.
  • Cooling off periods.
  • Lay-by’s.
  • Forfeiture of goods by suppliers.
  • Record keeping.
  • Delivery of goods and services.
  • Discrimination against consumers.
  • Consumer’s privacy.
  • Language to be used in documentation.
  • Franchise agreements.
  • Dispute resolution and consumer commission powers.
  • Fines and penalties to suppliers.

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Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act , 2008, (No 68 of 2008) was signed into law on 24 April 2009. The Act sets out the minimum requirements to ensure adequate consumer protection in South Africa. This Act constitutes an overarching framework for consumer protection, and all other laws which provides for consumer protection (usually within a particular sector) will need to be read with this Act to ensure a common standard of protection.

All suppliers of goods and services will need to take note of the new measures and ensure that they are able to comply once the Act becomes effective.

Chapters 1 and 5 of this Act, section 120 and any other provision authorising the Minister to make regulations became effective one year after the signing of the Act by the President, which was 24 April 2010.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2008 came into effect on 31 March 2011.

The Minister of Trade and Industry has given notice on 14 March 2011 in the Government Gazette that the Consumer Protection Act application to municipalities, other than high capacity municipalities, will be deferred until further notice. This will have the implication that consumers cannot apply the protection of the Act to transactions with these municipalities.

June 2019
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