SPEAK OUT ABOUT CRIME

Well that got your attention.-?

WHAT IS CRIME TO YOU?

WHAT HAS-?CRIME-?DONE TO YOU?

WHAT HAS-?CRIME COST YOU?

WHAT DID YOU DO?

OR

WHY DO YOU DO CRIME?

DO YOU WANT TO STOP?

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Do you have a story? Share it with us, so that we can alert others today.

Crime is killing us daily, as some of us live under so much stress as a result of crime.

Let’s alert others of what crime is costing you, your area, or country.

We need to-?expose the problem, and others may be able to assist with ideas on how to curb CRIME, so let us share our views and resources “AGAINST CRIME”.

Speak out today.

Just a thought “-?A bribe can-?start with a little sweet, and progress into a multi billion deal, so beware of the intention of the gift.”

Ferrier International-?keeping your alert.

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ECONOMIST VIEWPOINT ON SOUTH AFRICA

We received this interesting acticle on South Africa. ???-?By Cees Bruggemans, Chief Economist FNB
21 April 2008

Something broke in the opening months of 2008. Blaming it all on Eskom is certainly unfair. Eskom was just the most public face of our troubles. It merely rode the crest of a mounting Tsunami of troubling headwinds.

Peaking territory for our business cycle lay as far back as mid-2006. That is when residential building contractor confidence, part of the FNB/BER building confidence index peaked out at in record territory. Passenger car sales peaked out shortly thereafter in late 2006. Other parts of the consumer spending chain also sensed at that time that business had never been so good.

The SARB started raising interest rates from mid-2006 in response to rising CPIX inflation. Between them, rising inflation and rising interest rates steadily squeezed household ability to keep on partying. The higher interest rates took away disposable income. And rising inflation eroded real purchasing power of what remained.

Throughout the Minister of Finance put less money back into the economy than what he took out by way of draining taxation, thus steadily converting a budget deficit into a surplus.

The new national credit act, implemented from mid-2007, ensured that growing numbers of households would be denied access to new credit.

All these headwinds started to make households more cautious. Though as yet not losing much confidence, their purchasing behaviour became more defensive. Typically, one delays big-ticket credit-based items when interest rates are rising, minimally losing welfare at first as the existing stock of assets continues to serve well.

Car sales were the first to start falling, followed by durable goods such furniture and other home appliances. But residential property also registered signs of growing unease throughout last year.

The big jolt came in early 2008 with Eskom electricity interruption and ever higher oil and food prices. And for the first time there was evidence of job losses, as can be gleaned from BER business opinion surveys.

The Labour Force Survey didn’t show up such losses just as yet, if only because the data lags by over six months.

But as 2008 unfolds we can be sure that formal sector employment will not enjoy too many job gains. Indeed, given eroding profit growth, going by company announcements, and BER opinion surveys, 2008 may be the first year since 2000 in which employment declined again.

That should shake some consumers, though not necessarily all. The public sector is well ensconced. And shortages of skilled labour are such that artisans, engineers, executive management and a myriad of other professional occupations need not worry overly much either. If anything, they will also succeed in winning inflation-neutral income gains.

But that probably takes care of only one-third to half the labour force. The remainder will be fully exposed to the headwinds now confronting the economy. Their real incomes will likely suffer. Their confidence should erode further, as will probably their spending growth.

Large swaths of business will come to share in this pain while dishing out its own. It should undermine their willingness to invest and create new jobs. Happily, an important part of such investment spending will be shielded, as infrastructure is mainly driven by government contracts, while big private investment projects with long lead times will also continue.

But any new private projects may get delayed, either for practical reasons as someone holds up their start, but also from caution as business conditions deteriorate.

It isn’t, however, all doom and gloom out there, as many producers continue to prosper. This is especially so for farmers and those supplying them. Mining houses are also earning record prices for their growing output. And some manufacturers may succeed in deflecting domestic weakness on imports, courtesy of a now undervalued Rand.

But overall there is little doubt that things are sliding, and that this sensation is spreading, infecting growing parts of business.

So far it has been the cumulative headwinds since 2006 that have been doing the damage. But oil last week reached $115/b, with yet another humongous petrol and diesel price increase awaiting us in May.

Food prices continue to rise explosively, due to rising biofuel prices but now also in part fuelled by defensive actions taken by increasing numbers of food producing countries. The electricity tariff increase still lies ahead of us, as do the municipal rate increases.

And to this growing pile of woe can now be added the SARB’s ninth interest rate increase of 0.5% two weeks ago, which one senses could the last straw breaking the camel’s back. With this one proviso that if it turns out the camel’s back hasn’t been broken, going by labour wage demands, inflation opinion surveys, company pricing behaviour and capital market bond yields, the SARB may yet be willing to repeat the exercise once again in June.

The Minister of Finance has recently opinioned South Africans should save more and by implication spent less of their incomes. SARB Governor Mboweni has helpfully started referring to belts needing to be tightened yet another notch, in case the message has been lost on us.

The effect of all these developments on employment, real income and confidence is yet to show its full reach, but it will probably still take many months.

Thus we seem to be in transition, from high growth in which GDP did 5.5%, households did 7% and fixed investment did 15% to a period in which we will only do half as well as national belt-tightening prevails.

What will end it?

The inflation acceleration needs to be broken. Getting beyond the Eskom tariff shock is only one aspect. It is the oil escalation that needs to be broken, for it pulls global food prices along in its wake. And the Randshould stabilize rather than become even more undervalued.

Of these oil prices seems the main problem. It isn’t as yet obvious what will stop them escalating, given the remarkable convergence of many global supply constraints.

And beyond all that still looms our inclination to demand compensation for everything that goes wrong. This too will need to change. Food riots don’t magically generate more food. Neither do inflationary wage demands pushing up business costs that need to be passed on, feeding a growing cost-push spiral.

Will adversity succeed at some point to arrest these forces? Probably. It always has in the past. Even so, it may take longer, accompanied by more pain, to do so.

But once those struggles have been overcome, interest rates can decline once again, confidence and risk-taking revive, and ultimately business activity, income, investment, job creation and household incomes.

But for now that isn’t the quadrant we are in. We are adjusting to slower growth, and lower levels of activity, spending and employment in parts of the economy. It will take the better part of 2008 to play out.

Cees Bruggemans is Chief Economist of First National Bank. Register for his free e-mail articles on www.fnb.co.za/economics

We ask you now what is your view on South Africa?

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New E-Scams & Warnings

Please be warned of the latest E-Scams alerted by FBI and IC3.-?-?-?

FRAUDULENT GRAND JURY SUMMONS CONTAINING MALWARE

04/17/08—The IC3 warns consumers of recently reported spam e-mail containing a fraudulent subpoena notifying recipients they are commanded to appear and testify before a Grand Jury. The e-mail attempts to appear authentic by containing a court case number, federal code, name and address of a California federal court, court room number, issuing officers’ names, and a court seal. Recipients are directed to click the link provided in the e-mail in order to download and print associated information for their records. If the recipient clicks the link, malicious code is downloaded onto their computer.

The e-mail also contains language threatening recipients with contempt of court charges if they fail to appear. Recipients are also told the subpoena will remain in effect until the court grants a release. As with most spam, the content contains multiple spelling errors.

If you receive this type of notification and are unsure of its authenticity, you should contact the issuing court for validation.

Be aware; if you receive an unsolicited e-mail, especially from an unknown sender, it is recommended you do not open it. If you do open the e-mail, do not click any embedded links, as they may contain a virus or malware.

If you have received an e-mail similar to this, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


STORM WORM VIRUS

02/11/08—With the Valentine’s Day holiday approaching, be on the lookout for spam e-mails spreading the Storm Worm malicious software (malware). The e-mail directs the recipient to click on a link to retrieve the electronic greeting card (e-card). Once the user clicks on the link, malware is downloaded to the Internet-connected device and causes it to become infected and part of the Storm Worm botnet. A botnet is a network of compromised machines under the control of a single user. Botnets are typically set up to facilitate criminal activity such as spam e-mail, identity theft, denial of service attacks, and spreading malware to other machines on the Internet.

The Storm Worm virus has capitalized on various holidays in the last year by sending millions of e-mails advertising an e-card link within the text of the spam e-mail. Valentine’s Day has been identified as the next target.

Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided.

If you have received this, or a similar e-mail, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


FBI IDENTIFIES RECURRING FRAUDULENT E-MAIL SCAM

02/01/08—The FBI has recently developed information indicating cyber criminals are attempting to once again send fraudulent e-mails to unsuspecting recipients stating that someone has filed a complaint against them or their company with the Department of Justice or another organization such as the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, or the Better Business Bureau.

Information obtained during the FBI investigation has been provided to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has taken steps to alert their public and private sector partners with the release of a Critical Infrastructure Information Notice (CIIN).

The e-mails are intended to appear as legitimate messages from the above departments, and they address the recipients by name, and other personal information may be contained within the e-mail. Consistent with previous efforts, the scam will likely be an effort to secure Personally Identifiable Information. The nature of these types of scams is to create a sense of urgency for the recipient to provide a response through clicking on a hyperlink, opening an attachment, or initiating a telephone call.

It is believed this e-mail refers to a complaint that is in the form of an attachment, which actually contains virus software designed to steal passwords from the recipient. The virus is wrapped in a screensaver file wherein most anti-virus programs are unable to detect its malicious intent. Once downloaded, the virus is designed to monitor username and password logins, and record the activity, as well as other password-type information, entered on the compromised machine.

Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided. If you have received a scam e-mail please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


VISHING ATTACKS INCREASE

01/17/08—Are you one of many who have received an e-mail, text message, or telephone call, supposedly from your credit card/debit card company directing you to contact a telephone number to re-activate your card due to a security issue? The IC3 has received multiple reports of different variations of this scheme known as “vishing”. These attacks against US financial institutions and consumers continue to rise at an alarming rate.

Vishing operates like phishing by persuading consumers to divulge their Personally Identifiable Information (PII), claiming their account was suspended, deactivated, or terminated. Recipients are directed to contact their bank via a telephone number provided in the e-mail or by an automated recording. Upon calling the telephone number, the recipient is greeted with “Welcome to the bank of ……” and then requested to enter their card number in order to resolve a pending security issue.

For authenticity, some fraudulent e-mails claim the bank would never contact customers to obtain their PII by any means, including e-mail, mail, or instant messenger. These e-mails further warn recipients not to provide sensitive information when requested in an e-mail and not to click on embedded links, claiming they could contain “malicious software aimed at capturing login credentials.”

Please beware—spam e-mails may actually contain malicious code (malware) which can harm your computer. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided.

A new version recently reported involves the sending of text messages to cell phones claiming the recipient’s on-line bank account has expired. The message instructs the recipient to renew their on-line bank account by using the link provided.

Due to rapidly evolving criminal methodologies, it is impossible to include every scenario. Therefore, be cognizant and protect your PII. Beware of e-mails, telephone calls, or text messages requesting your PII.If you have a question concerning your account or credit/debit card, you should contact your bank using a telephone number obtained independently, such as from your statement, a telephone book, or other independent means.

If you have received this, or a similar hoax, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.



AN INCREASE IN INTERNET SCHEMES CLAIMING TO BE FROM THE FBI

01/04/08—We have increasingly received reports of fraudulent schemes misrepresenting FBI agents, officials, and/or FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. The fraudulent e-mails give the appearance of legitimacy due to the usage of pictures of the FBI Director, seal, letterhead, and/or banners. The e-mails may also claim to come from our domestic or overseas offices.

The types of schemes utilizing the names of FBI agents, officials, or the Director’s name are typically lottery endorsements and inheritance notifications. However, other fraudulent schemes include threat and extortion e-mails, website monitoring containing malicious computer program attachments (malware), and online auction scams.

The social engineering technique of utilizing the FBI’s name is to intimidate and convince the recipient the e-mail is legitimate.

The FBI does not send out emails soliciting information from citizens.

Please be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail referencing the FBI, FBI Director Mueller, or any other FBI official endorsing any type of Internet activity.

If you have experienced this situation please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


NEW TWIST CONCERNING THREAT AND EXTORTION E-MAILS

01/09/07—There is a new twist to the IC3 alert posted on December 7, 2006 regarding e-mails claiming that the sender has been paid to kill the recipient and will cancel the contract on the recipient’s life if that person pays a large sum of money. Now e-mails are surfacing that claim to be from the FBI in London. These e-mails note the following information:

  • An individual was recently arrested for the murders of several United States and United Kingdom citizens in relation to this matter.
  • The recipient’s information was found on the subject identifying the recipient as the next victim.
  • The recipient is requested to contact the FBI in London to assist with the investigation.

It is not uncommon for an Internet fraud scheme to have the same overall intent but be transmitted containing variations in the e-mail content, e.g., different names, e-mail addresses, and/or agencies reportedly involved. See our related top story on the hitman scam.

Please note, providing any personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail can compromise your identity and open you to identity theft.

If you have experienced this situation please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

Due to the threat of violence inherent in these extortion e-mails, if you receive an e-mail that contains personally identifiable information that might differentiate your e-mail from the general e-mail spam campaign, we encourage you to contact the police.


E-MAILS CONTAINING THREATS AND EXTORTION

12/07/06—We have recently received information concerning spam e-mails threatening to assassinate the recipient unless the individual pays several thousand dollars to the sender of the e-mail.

The subject claims to have been following the victim for some time and was supposedly hired to kill the victim by a friend of the victim. The subject threatens to carry out the assassination if the victim goes to the police and requests the victim to respond quickly and provide their telephone number.

Warning! Providing any personal information can compromise your identify and open you to identity theft.

If you have experienced this situation, please notify your local, state, or federal law enforcement agency immediately. Also, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

Link to FBI Alert – http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm

FERRIER INTERNATIONAL-? thanks the FBI for this alert as Internet uses get targeted daily.-?

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