Safety for online buyers and sellers

If you’re buying or selling second-hand items online, you have to be careful these days. While there are many legitimate offers out there, there are definitely some opportunists. There are so many different scams out there – whether people are looking scam you out of your money or are trying to scam you out of what you’re selling.

That’s why we’ve got some tips on how to protect yourself when buying and selling second-hand items online – whether it’s private car sales or upcycled living room furniture. The last thing you want is to end up with being at the losing end of an online scam.

Look up the seller/buyer online

Most people who buy or sell products online are going to be generally active online. They may have profiles on other second-hand sites or, at very least, they’ll have active social media accounts. Do a bit of research. If they are scam artists you may be lucky and find that other people have dealt with them before and have put up warnings.

Try go through community second-hand groups on Facebook

If you’re looking to sell some second-hand items, these groups are a safe way to do it. For the most part these people will have been active on the community group and you may even recognise them from being out and about. Some group admins insist on checking out profiles before allowing people to join the group. Another great thing about these groups is that they’re usually based in certain areas, meaning that you don’t have to go far to buy, sell or swap your item. Buying and selling second-hand items on Facebook is pretty easy.

Look out for generic photographs

Whether you’re buying through Facebook or Gumtree, you should make sure to avoid any ads that use generic pictures instead of the photographs of the real item for sale. Using a stock image instead of the real thing is a warning sign that the selling is scamming you – either the real item has something wrong with it or it doesn’t exist at all.

Meet in a public place

If you’re buying or selling an item (even through an online group), you should do the transaction in a public place. Don’t invite people to your home or go out to their home. If they ask to come to you, they may be casing your home to see if you have any valuables. Meet in a familiar public place where you know that there will be a lot of people. Also, tell a friend where you’re going and who it is that you’re meeting.

Mostly you’ll find that people buying and selling items online are just ordinary people like you. But you should rather be safe than sorry. In this world you cannot afford to take chances when it comes to personal safety.

 

 

Could accredited online courses and tutorials be a viable alternative during fees crisis?

The protests against escalating fees at South Africa’s tertiary institutions will be talked about for some time to come.

The political nature of the uprising which began at Wits University and spread like wildfire to other parts of the country is seen by some as a springboard for change, not only at tertiary level, but within the broader South African context as well.

However, one aspect that seemingly is being overlooked as canisters of teargas rain down and new hashtags flood social media faster than a fleeing activist is how places of higher learning will be administered going forward.

Within the tertiary education sector, there have always been Student Representative Councils (SRCs) which have been elected to engage with upper management. However, these, too, have become highly politicised entities, in that members fall under the auspices of one or other youth wing of the larger umbrella party.

Essentially, that means that university governors will need to increasingly take into account the agendas of those parties, not simply the day-to-day student concerns as in the past.

Part of that process will be a greater appreciation of a student’s right to demonstrate. In a country like South Africa, where events and processes are constantly on a knife-edge, there is a very strong likelihood of disruptions to the annual curriculum and exam timetables becoming commonplace.

In the mining sector, for example, “strike season” has become part of the national dialogue. At least once every two years wage demands are made of mining company executives, a standoff ensues for several months and a deal is finally brokered. The economy loses billions of rands, and everybody moves on – until the next season.

Disruptions to education – be it teacher or student strikes – can have an equally detrimental effect on the economy.

Graduates are extremely important for a country’s economic standing. Provided they are given the necessary grounding, they will not only be invaluable assets to companies but will be furnished with the skills to start their own businesses.

There certainly is validation behind the calls for lower fees, for this very reason. However, there is the distinct impression that students’ actions will be repeated in the months and years to come when other issues arise.

One should remember

In order to limit disruptions to a learner’s studies, tertiary institutions might wish to consider placing a greater emphasis on online courses and tutorials, which are becoming increasingly popular both for students and those pursuing education jobs.

Already UCT, UCT the Graduate School of Business and Wits are offering such courses, after partnering with online short course specialists Getsmarter.

It is entirely feasible that these courses could work on the larger scale, given that the shorter iterations have proved successful. While there is no substitute for the traditional lecture hall experience, South Africa is a country that needs to adapt.

Solving the country’s myriad problems is not going to happen overnight, regardless of whether people believe that or not, but what cannot be allowed to happen is students falling behind in their studies as issues are being worked out, either on the streets or in legislation.

Every option should be explored to ensure that does not happen.

Your many access control options

Whether you need to regulate pedestrian traffic or reinforce security standards, there are a number of access control solutions for you to choose from. This is a basic breakdown of some of the main options so that you can make an informed decision about what suits your business’ needs.

Turnstiles

Turnstiles are great for crowd management, providing safety, convenience and efficiency. Turnstile gates are a common access control solution in factories, stadiums, warehouses, amusement parks, public transport stations, universities, retail sites and casinos. Turnstiles not only can secure the premises, but can also be integrated with ticketing or clocking systems.

Revolving doors

Revolving doors are used as an access control situation where high volumes of foot traffic are expected. They’re ideal in office blocks, universities, libraries, public buildings and health clubs. There are generally two types of revolving doors: automatic and manual. Both options provide a draft block between the external and internal environments of a building, which stabilises the temperature of a building while still allowing access. In this way revolving doors can save you money on energy costs.

Sliding doors

Automatic sliding doors, usually aluminium-based, are also used for entrances that see high volume traffic, such as in retail stores, although they are generally not used in situations where security is the main priority as there are more secure options.

Sliding doors provide an aesthetically pleasing, hi-tech and professional appearance and also conserve energy by only opening when people approach, heating, ventilation and air conditioning can be efficiently regulated.

Road barriers

There are a wide variety of road security options depending on whether you want to regulate traffic, manage access control, or impose high security restrictions. For instance there are boom gate systems, bollards and road blockers, all with different levels of security depending on your needs.

Speedgates

Speedgates, also known as speedstiles, are used in entrances that need a secure and aesthetic solution, while still accommodating high volumes of traffic. By installing speedgates you can monitor admittance, manage crowds, and keep track of employee movements. All this can be done without hindering the flow of traffic. They’re used for applications like office blocks, passenger terminals, railway stations, and sports stadiums.

There are many benefits to access control systems. They improve pedestrian traffic, help with crowd control, regulate movement, secure areas, can be integrated with ticketing or timing systems and even save energy in the case of sliding or revolving doors.

If you aren’t yet sure what you might need, an access control system manufacturer can assess the needs of your building, and design, manufacture and install the best fit for your situation.

Locating your child in a shopping mall

 

Little ones love malls, to them it’s big and fascinating. Children are inquisitive and will often wander off to investigate and explore their surroundings, they may also do this without notifying you. Their concept of danger isn’t as developed yet and to them it’s innocent fun. The moment you turn your head, they could be gone, hiding from you. The best you can do in this situation is to start searching with the help of others.

Keep calm

Your child could actually just be hiding from you because to them the mall is infiltrated with vast amounts of hiding places. Kids have really playful natures and malls offer lots of opportunities to have some fun. Call out to your child in the immediate vicinity, they may just be around the corner playing with anything got their hands on. They may even be hiding away from you for fun.

Think like a child

What would you do if you were a child? Where would you go? Check nearby candy stores or the toy shop. If they know the mall well, they may have wondered off to their favourite store. Be quick about it because the moment they come to realise that you are not behind them, it will be a scary moment for your little tot. Also tell employees of the stores that they need to keep an eye out for your child. Security jobs in Gauteng train their mall officers in cases like these, and its perfect timing to also teach your child to always go to the man or woman in uniform for help.

Search low

Take a look behind shelves, the back of displays, under sofas and chairs, and even behind the clothing racks. You will be surprised at the tiny places they can fit into. Remember that to them this is a game and they could be looking at you, smiling that you are unable to find them. Call out their name, a couple of times and lure them out with a toy or a snack. Even gesture that you are about to leave the store, shout out saying, “Bye, I’m leaving now.” They will run out to you not wanting to be left behind.

Lay down ground rules from this point forward

Talk to you child about how dangerous it is to run off or hide away from you in the mall. Explain to them that they could get lost or even worse, taken. Kids need to be repeatedly told to always stay by their parent’s side. Before you enter the mall lay down the rules and make sure that they understand them clearly.

Is a safe deposit box the best option?

 

Safe deposit boxes protect important documents such a trust, will or power of attorney and other small valuables against theft or destruction. So when many people watch movie heists, they can’t help but think about their own safety deposit boxes at the bank and the safety thereof. While a home safe deposit box is convenient and doesn’t cost you any money, it does make it more accessible to other people. Keeping your box locked away in a bank is the safest option and here’s why:

Can the vault be broken into?

Safe deposit boxes are stored in solid concrete or steel vaults equipped with sophisticated alarms, locks, motion sensors, cameras, heat detectors and many more security devices. Many banks have steel bollards in underground parking bays, they restrict unauthorised access with strict security measures, making the vault the safest place on earth to keep personal documents or items. The signature of anyone entering the vault will always be verified, and no one is ever left unattended inside the vault.

What if someone tries to damage the safe deposit box?

Manufacturing companies of the safe deposit box will try their best to make the box resilient to heat, explosions or any other disastrous situations. So if malice takes place inside the bank, you can be rest assured that the box is protected inside the vault. But as with everything in life, nothing is for sure, the bank actually has a clause that highlights the fact they are not liable for any damage or

“When renting a safety deposit box from the bank, it is an intrinsic nature of the agreement signed that the bank does not know what will be placed inside the box and does not assume any responsibility for the loss of any of its contents,” says  Clive Pillay, the Ombudsman for Banking Services.

The bank will not accept any accountability for the items inside the safe deposit box, it ensures that they are not liable for anything that could be life threatening or defaming to another human being. If the bank insists on keeping an accurate record of all contents they would need value checks and valuation certificates, which contradict the purpose of the safe deposit box completely.

Take precautionary measures

When signing up to store your goods in a safe deposit box at the bank, and an unforeseen disaster takes place, ensure that you have all your goods covered. Put your name on the items that are in the box, keep a list of the box’s contents or documentation, have copies available and take photos of your items inside the box. Even with the bank clause in place, you will have a better case to claim your goods when you have evidence.

How technology innovated security

There’s an ongoing concern with technology that has to do with security. That is, as technology improves that means both new tools to exploit and new tools for exploiting. For example, a faster computer also means faster hacking. It’s important for all of us to be aware of how security and technology interlink and what we should be considering when it comes to protecting ourselves, our businesses and our loved ones.

Phone technology has improved so much within a few decades, we’ve gone from having dedicated rooms for one phone in our homes to carrying powerful computers in our pockets. But this has meant vulnerabilities.

Mobile security firm Lookout, recently released a survey examining the issue of the state of mobile security. Fortune notes:

“The most surprising finding in the report…is the percentage of data breaches attributable to mobile devices. Nearly three-quarters of the 100 IT and security leads surveyed (about half of whom are chief information security officers) reported that their organizations have “experienced a data breach as a result of a mobile security issue.”

This is a big problem, as it means even those who should know better are not taking proper precaution. This is also due to the fact that maybe they are not as knowledgeable about mobile security as they are about other kinds of security.

Yet if they are not working on mobile security efficiently enough – that is, technology that has been out for years – what does this mean for newer technology, like wearable devices?

TechRepublic points out:

“As wearable devices make their way into the workplace and corporate networks, they bring a host of security and privacy challenges for IT departments and increase the amount of data that data brokers have to sell about an individual.”

This should trouble us all, since technology become so accepted we forget to think of the dangers it could hold. This doesn’t mean we give up on mobile or wearable devices – only that we should be pushing for better security and taking better precautions ourselves.

We can look back at how we have taken safety measures already; locks, doors, alarms, man traps, CCTV cameras are all ways we’ve used and refined security. This wasn’t a simple process but considering the speed with which we’re creating new technology, we ought to also be speeding up how we protect ourselves.