Saturday 27 October 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 22nd October 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Have I been hacked?

A consumer asked us whether he had been hacked. He'd received the following email:
“I infected your operating system with a virus and have been monitoring you for a long time. Even if you changed the password it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer and automatically saved access for me.

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history. I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos. I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching. I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?

If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $564 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created. Send the above amount on my Bitcoin wallet. As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted. Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device. Also, I'll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs.”
He asked: "What should I do?"

It's simple. Do nothing.

While all of the things this email claims have been done can be done, I doubt it's been done to this guy. If they had, don't you think the "hacker" would have used the victim's name when he made the threat?

This is a scam that plays on our fear (and ignorance) of hackers and what they can do. Many of us remember the WannaCry ransomware attack from 2017 when computer users around the world had their documents encrypted and a ransom payable in Bitcoin was demanded to decrypt them.

This is just a scam email that has been sent to many potential victims, including Consumer Watchdog. Just delete it.

Meanwhile, be very careful about the web sites you visit, the apps you download and the attachments you receive in your Inbox. Be very careful.

2. Green World

Do you remember the press release from the Ministry of Health and Wellness last month regarding Longrich (and other) products? It's worth reading again.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to notify the public that the following complementary medicines are not approved for use in Botswana, Xiangzhiling products, C24 tea, Table Charm products and Longrich medicinal products. … any person selling these products or any other related products will be charged according to Section 23.1.2 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act … liable to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both”
Now we have another purveyor of lies and threats to our health. Green World. This advertisement was found in a supermarket in Gaborone.

Zoom in a little further and you can see the health claims they make.

I contacted the number given on the advertisement and got the following response.
“My name is Marshall. Am an international distributor of Green World herbal products. All our products are organic. Meaning they are grown in a natural environment where there are chemicals, additives or preservatives added to them, also there are no side effects. We treat all known disorders. Just to name a few: Diabetes type 1,2,BP, Cancer, Obesity, Period pains, Fiberiods, Libido, Low sperm count, Infertility, Prostate disorders etc”
"We treat all known disorders"? Really?

We've referred this to the enforcers at BOMRA, the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority who are gradually taking over from the Drug Regulatory Unit in the Ministry of Health and Wellness. I expect we'll see some action very soon!

P.S.. The ridiculous medical claims are a side show. Green World is a pyramid scheme.

3. Where’s the refund?
“I engaged a kiddies party planner for a package for a birthday party on 28th of October. My package was that they would be providing venue and I hire equipment and do my own decor. I paid 50% of the P2500 fee which was P1250 on 28th September. I had to cancel the booking on 11th October and requested for a refund but I was only refunded 50% of my deposit which is P625. This "policy" was never mentioned and was surprised that I didn’t get my P1250. I did not complete any booking form or any documentation. Everything was just communicated on Whatsapp. Is this correct to not give me my full refund?"
Are deposits refundable? That depends on the agreement you signed with the supplier. You didn't sign an agreement? So how can either of you prove that the deposit was refundable or not?

There's nothing wrong in principle with non-refundable deposits. The supplier books or buys equipment, ingredients for food, staff, a band, all sorts of things in advance of your booking and it's not fair to leave them with that burden if you cancel at the last minute. Also, they might have turned away another booking because you got there first?

The key thing is to have a written agreement that explains these things.

So what if there's isn't an agreement? Section 15 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations probably applies and any deposit should be "promptly" restored.

4. Am I covered?
“I had an accident on my way to work and my vehicle overturned. The Police charged me with driving without due care. I kept on contacting the insurer throughout the process and yesterday I received a letter of claim rejection citing I broke the law and the cover clause of accident/loss avoidance. They say the vehicle has been rendered beyond repair.”
Yet again, a reminder that we must read agreements before signing them. And then read them again. Then keep on reading them until we understand them.

All insurance policies have some exclusions. Life policies don't cover you if you commit suicide. Medical aid schemes often don't cover pre-existing conditions. Vehicle policies don't cover you if you were drunk or if the vehicle was unroadworthy at the time of an accident.

This particular policy doesn't cover you if the police charge you for a traffic offence and this customer was charged with "driving without due care".

The general rule with insurance policies (and with many other things in life) is that you get what you pay for. The cheapest policies with lower premiums generally come with lower levels of cover, higher excess amounts and more exclusions. Higher premiums generally mean better cover, lower excesses and fewer exclusions.

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