Cyber Crime is a growing reality…..

 

The Standard Bank Scam is estimated at R300 million involving 14000 transactions at ATM’s in just a few hours over at 7 Eleven stores all over Japan.
It was conducted with precision, using  “mules” to make the many withdrawals which were just under the right limits using data accessed from the bank. The criminals found a badly protected ATM network in a low risk country guessing that the fraud analytic software would not automatically block the transactions.

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We don’t know if the information was hacked or if it was an inside job.

What we do know is that cybercrime is very real and all of us are exposed to it. In our high tech world our personal information is on record. Think of how many establishments hold your ID number and banking details:
SARS, the bank, store accounts, DSTV….and so on.

So what can we do about it?

Very little…..all you can do is manage your own space when it comes to giving out your information.

Perhaps, as a general rule, you should only give out information if you make contact with an establishment and then are asked for verification details. If you, however, are contacted then caution should prevail as you do not know how authentic the caller actually is.

Develop an attitude of ‘someone is always watching you’ and waiting to pounce on every opportunity to steal your money just at the time when you let your guard down.

Report suspicious activities quickly to the fraud department of the relevant provider.

If in doubt push out…….

A weak economy puts student loans at risk…..

Recently I came across a very disillusioned sponsor of a student loan who had been paying interest and service charges for 18 months and the outstanding loan was still the same as the original amount.

The banks cover themselves from left right and centre wth this type of loan. Whilst it is the only way many students can afford to pay for their education the loan is loaded in favour of the bank all the way. The risk is all yours.

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You take the loan for the duration of your studies and reapply on an annual basis providing the bank with your marks annually when you reapply. You elect a sponsor on application who commits to paying the interest and service charges from the beginning of the loan until you finish your studies. This means that the original amount of the loan is still owed when you finish.

This is no loss to the bank as the cost of borrowing has been paid for and some….as the current rate of interest is 20,5%!!!!

You will be granted a grace period for capital repayments after you have completed your studies and have not found employment. The grace period may be extended if you have to complete your articles, internship or community service.

The reality for many students is that there is a huge risk of not being able to find employment after completing your studies. The local and global economy is under huge stress and growth is not happening. This translates into rising unemployment which has a large component of youth.

Starting off in your career with a huge high interest bearing debt is not ideal especially if you cannot find a job to pay it off. The banks have it covered by either you or your sponsor. A huge obligation on you in the face of tough times ahead.

Mothers……the most important asset

Mother’s Day is a very important day for most. They are undoubtedly the most important asset in the family. They provide, nurture and support with endless commitment giving their all even when they don’t have much left. How do you put a value on them when they are simply priceless. There are, however, some important financial aspects which should be in place which Moms should be aware of:

Get involved in the family’s financial plan                                                           Understand the details of what provisions there are should a life changing event occur. Don’t leave it up to the spouse and find out hard way if something happens. You will want to be assured that you know the financial implications and should adjust things whilst you can.

Is the family protected with sufficient life assurance?                                                 If Mom passed away leaving behind dependent children there could be serious financial ramifications for the family. Who will mind the children? If Mom contributed to the household income how will this be replaced? If Mom is dependent on Hubby and he passes on this could be financially disastrous. The amount of life assurance should cover all outstanding debts and leave behind enough to get through the months maintain your monthly income needs until the children are off your hands.

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Have you provided enough for education?
Provisions for education should be in line with your affordability. However, many families sacrifice a lot financially to put their kids through school leaving them in more debt than they can handle. Ideally you should have a nest egg to subsidise you education costs.There are many ways to do this. My preferred is to have excess cash in your access bond which is available for the school fees and other must have’s. The bond provides liquidity and whilst there is excess you are paying off the bond in a shorter time.

Ultimately, a family which is well provided for is a happy one. Happy, happy Mother’s Day.