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7 Scams to Watch Out for in 2024

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As technology gets more advanced, fraudsters are also getting better at deceiving and stealing from us. In 2024, scammers have some new tricks up their sleeve, such as deepfake impersonation. That is why fostering a zero-trust mindset can help to keep yourself safe from these scams.

Watch out! for the following Scam in 2024.

  1. Deepfake impersonation scams

Imagine receiving a voice note from your CEO instructing you to transfer money to a bank account. You follow the instructions without realising that the voice note is a deepfake. And just like that, you have fallen for a scam. Deepfakes make use of AI technologies to create new – but fake – images, videos, and/or audio material from existing material, “Artificial intelligence (AI) technology makes it easier for fraudsters to create these convincing fake messages from people you know and trust,” explains Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 AFRICA. “It enables scammers to generate video and audio that is so convincing, many believe it is real.”

Fraudsters also use AI-generated voice notes or videos to impersonate a family member, such as a grandchild, who claims to be in distress and in need of money. This is called a grandparent scam. “People get scammed that way because their emotions are triggered by hearing an authentic sounding voice clip of their loved one and want to help,” comments Collard.

Another fraudulent application of deepfakes is to impersonate politicians to spread confusion or disinformation. “This is definitely something to watch out for in 2024 as it’s an election year,” says Collard.

  1. Investment scams

Investment scams can appear as trustworthy financial organisations promising incredible returns. “However, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Collard. She advises being cautious in such situations. Scammers often combine cryptocurrency scams with romance scams as well.

Another scam to be wary of in 2024 involves fake loans that offer low-interest rates but never actually materialise. Instead, victims are required to pay upfront fees or provide their personal information. “With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, scammers may tempt many individuals to apply for these loans to make ends meet, be very careful of any offers that sound too good to be true.”

  1. Romance scams

By using fake profiles on dating sites or social media, scammers build trust with their victims and then exploit this emotional connection to trick them into sending them money. “Even though family members might repeatedly warn the victim, they often continue with the romantic deception because once on the hook, psychologically it is very difficult for the victim’s brains to admit that they have been conned,” explains Collard.

  1. Identity and social media profile theft

Identity theft involves stealing personal information to commit fraud. Scammers do this via phishing emails or phone calls, as with banking scams. “Social media profile theft involves hackers hijacking your social media accounts to reach out to your contacts, pretending to be you, spreading malicious software, scams or asking for money,” says Collard.

  1. Charity fraud

After a humanitarian crisis, like a flood, charity scams frequently emerge. “These scams play on your emotions and ask you to give money to a worthy cause, but in reality, they are fake charities,” explains Collard. Red flags to watch out for are unusual payment methods, such as EFT, instead of secure payment platforms. “Always make sure that charities are registered before you donate and that you interact with the legitimate NGO or charity before transferring any money,” she advises.

  1. Tech support scams

Posing as IT technicians, these scammers try to convince you that there’s something wrong with your computer and offer to fix it. They then seize control of your computer and steal your personal information or hack into your bank account. “These scams prey on people’s fears,” says Collard. “They throw people into a state of panic in which they’re not thinking logically.” She recommends hanging up right away and directly contacting your IT support centre.

  1. Puppy scams

Are you in the market for a pure-bred puppy? Beware! International crime syndicates operating in South Africa offer purportedly discounted pooches. According to Collard, many individuals have suffered significant financial losses not only for the non-existent dog but also for the transportation expenses. She advises buyers to be wary if they encounter a wide variety of dogs for sale on a website or if they are immediately offered a puppy. “Breeders do not operate like Takealot. There are usually waiting lists; it takes time for a puppy to become available,” she says. “If you’re offered a second dog at a 30% discount, it’s highly likely you’re being scammed.”

The general advice for any of the scams listed above is to slow down and take a breath before reacting to anything, particularly if it’s emotionally triggering content.

As the boundaries between our physical and virtual worlds continue to blur, a zero trust mindset encourages us to pause, think, and evaluate the content we are interacting with, thereby empowering us to make conscious and more rational decisions.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

E-Business

Outdated Tech Holding Back Innovation in Organizations

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A new report by a leading global IT infrastructure and services company, NTT DATA has revealed that 80 per cent of organizations have agreed that inadequate or outdated technology is holding back organizational progress and innovation efforts.

In fact, 94 per cent of C-suite executives believe legacy infrastructure is greatly hindering their business agility.

These findings come from NTT DATA’s inaugural Lifecycle Management Report. The report, which leverages 25 years of data-led insights from NTT DATA, explores the challenges and opportunities that exist for organizations as they navigate infrastructure lifecycle management.

The research was conducted over 2022 and 2023, gathering data from over 248 million active assets across 130 countries and supported with responses from up to 1400 senior technology decision makers.

Lifecycle management is a critical enabler of business success. Unfortunately, rapid modernization, and the proliferation of technology consumption models, coupled with an increasingly complicated and fragmented supplier ecosystem, make it difficult for many organisations to adequately maintain their technology infrastructure in a way that fosters business agility and innovation.

Compounding issues, the report finds that more than two thirds (69%) of currently active hardware (with scheduled last day of support) will no longer be supported by 2027.

According to the report, just 51 per cent of enterprises have fully aligned their technology approach to their business strategy needs, while 71 per cent of organizations say their network assets are mostly ageing or obsolete.

Unfortunately, lifecycle management can also have an even more direct impact on operations. Misaligned lifecycle patterns can result in inappropriate coverage levels, laborintensive renewals, extended incident resolution times, security breaches, and even costly license violations and compliance issues.

Gary Middleton, Vice President of Networking GTM at NTT DATA, said: “Infrastructure lifecycles are a critical part of the IT management process. They represent an opportunity and a challenge for leadership, as effective lifecycles can result in huge business benefits – from increased efficiency to fostering greater innovation. “However, inefficient lifecycle management can equally be a meaningful operational blocker, posing numerous risks to security and business continuity.

“Through the Lifecycle Management Report, our aim is to help organizations enhance their infrastructure lifecycle processes and unlock the huge benefits doing so presents.”

It would be recalled that an earlier report by PwC had indicated that in Africa, the tech-ecosystem had experienced impressive growth and is evolving rapidly.

It noted that there was a high level of optimism about the potential that the continent has to offer by harnessing the strength of its largely young, rapidly growing and technology savvy population.

“Nigeria is one of the continent’s more established startup ecosystems, with firms like Interswitch dating as far back as 2002. “Albeit the growing tech-sector in the Nigerian economy and significant private funding secured by African tech start-ups over the years, the tech sector is grossly underrepresented in the Nigerian capital market “ the report said.

It also highlighter that the future of countries, businesses, and individuals would be more dependent than ever on their adoption of technology, adding that economic vibrancy and wealth creation in developed countries had been associated with technological advancements and digital innovation & transformation.

“Today, most of the companies with the world’s largest market capitalizations are tech companies that generate much of their revenue from the digital ecosystems they created. This is a significant change from the early 2000s to this current time,” the report added.

 


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DisCos’ revenue rose by 17% to N291bn in Q1 2024 – NBS

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National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in Nigeria made a total of N291.62 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.

NBS, in its latest report on electricity for Q1 2024, released on Sunday, June 23 also said there was a decline in electricity supply in the period reviewed.

The revenue by DisCos rose by 17.91 percent compared to the N247.33 billion recorded in Q1 of 2023, the bureau said.

According to the bureau, power supply dropped from 6,432.22 gigawats per hour (Gwh) in Q4 2023 to 5,769.52 (Gwh) in Q1 2024 but on a year-on-year basis, electricity supply decreased by 1.41 percent compared to 5,851.87 (Gwh) reported in Q1 2023, NBS said.

“Revenue collected by the DisCos during the period was N291.62 billion from N294.95 billion in Q4 2023, “the report reads.“On a year-on-year basis, revenue generated in the reference period rose by 17.91% from N247.33 billion recorded in Q1 2023.”

The NBS also said the total number of customers stood at 12.33 million in Q1 — up from 12.12 million in Q4 2023 — representing an increase of 1.78 percent.

“On a year-on-year basis, customer numbers in Q1 2024 rose by 9.47% from 11.27 million reported in Q1 2023,” the bureau said.

“Similarly, metered customers stood at 5.91 million in Q1 2024, indicating a growth of 5.38% from 5.61 million recorded in the preceding quarter.

“On a year-on-year basis, this grew by 11.26% from the figure reported in Q1 2023 which was 5.31 million.”


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E-Business

NITDA Commits to Deliver NDLF Initiatives Through Innovative Ideas

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In line with the digital literacy campaign of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Director General NITDA Kashifu Inuwa CCIE has said the Agency’s committed to achieving 70% digital literacy level by 2025 through innovative approaches in delivering initiatives, continuous collaborations and stakeholder engagement.

Inuwa made this known while receiving representatives from the Afre.lib Academy led by the Executive Director of Operation Mrs Joice Gomina who were on a visit to the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.

The purpose of the visit was to seek NITDA’s partnership as co-host of Afre.lib Academy’s bootcamps in August; 2024 Tech and Career Expo with the theme “Tech for Earth” in September; to have the DG as a Keynote Speaker and sponsorship support for their Tech Challenge Winners.

He said from the digital literacy perspective “We have three key areas, firstly, is the Formal Education where we are working with the minister of education to review curriculum and infuse all these skills in formal education, but we have a lot to do to achieve that in terms of training the teachers, getting the equipment available for them to use and so on.”

“Sencodly, for those outside the formal education (informal), we have an initiative which we call the Digital Literacy for All where we are working on building an Edtech platform (a learning Management System) where people can learn at their own pace. We are looking at translating it to Nigerian Languages, so that people who cannot read and understand English can do so in their own local languages.”

“We are exploring partnering with the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) as they are in 774 local government areas, to be onboarding people and making the content as simple as possible. So that anybody who listens or watches these contents can pick something from it. We believe going through the NYSC will help use reach the critical mass we are looking at.”

“Finally, we also have the formal workforce, which is to train people working for the government and private sector because the workforce needs to be digitally literate to increase productivity at work.

Inuwa assured the Academy of the Agency’s full support as both organisation share the same vison of fostering IT development and digital literacy.

“We need to review your curriculum to make sure it aligns with the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF).”

He added that NITDA is working to have at least one Innovation Hub per state so that when people learn they can have a place to develop there proof of concept.

He stated that both organisations can work together in the aspect of having tech clubs across schools in the country.

The ED Afre.lib Mrs Gomina said that the Academy’s which is a made up of a team of experts’ passionate educators has seen the gap between young children who are digital natives and their teachers who are still using old methods to prepare them for a future that is constantly evolving.

She said the Academy is working on building a platform where these children will be mentored and given a safe space to explore technology within the ethics of morality.

“We want to reduce that entitlement mentality and increase that mentality of citizenship, responsibility, and showing them that they can contribute to nation building using technology,” she said

She mentioned that some of the activities of the Academy includes, bootcamps for children, summer tech challenges teacher training as she appreciated the Agency for its willingness to support and partner with the Academy.

The Academy did a demo of some of the prototype developed by children who have undergone trainings with them.

 


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