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GCheck these tips to spot phishing scams and protect yourself

Scammers have found creative ways to sneakily get these info so it’s important to expose them and  get to know their methods.

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Ever experience that moment when you get a text message early in the morning and you excitedly jump out of bed thinking it’s crush-laloo greeting you, only to find out it’s some random SMS with bad grammar asking for your personal details? That inis-factor you’re feeling for these scammers — yes we’ve all been there, we feel you!

It doesn’t just stop there though. Nowadays, with the convenience of being able to buy anything with just a pa-“mine” comment at a live selling session or order that flash sale item with a tap of our fingers, come new levels of scam tactics. A common one is called phishing, where scammers send fake SMS, Emails, or links designed to trick people into giving away sensitive information such as personal information, banking details, and passwords. 

Scammers are getting more and more creative that we have to be G to be informed about what’s going on. Knowing the different ways they work is the first step in protecting ourselves. We all give in to certain types of “budol” as we call it—wherein we willingly fall for irresistible discounts or all-in-one bundles, or when you know you don’t need a new phone case but you purchase it anyway because it’s cute. To buy your wants and needs is okay, especially that you’ve been working hard for it. What is not okay is when you get yourself into types of budol that actually robs you of all your hard-earned money.

Are you G to be protected? Here are some common phishing scams and ways to protect yourself especially as we enter the merriest season of the year:

A popular method for scammers is to pretend to be an authorized customer representative on different platforms by appropriating company logos and a person’s profile picture. In social media, this can happen if you post your complaints publicly. They send a direct message and pretend to offer help with your concern. In emails, they use what seem to look like official addresses and create a sense of urgency to pressure you into following the steps they have outlined, otherwise, you will lose access to your account or incur possible charges. While in SMS, they send suspicious messages and links that will prompt you to install an app or require you to input your MPIN or OTP for many reasons: you’ve won a contest, have expiring rewards to claim, or that you need to update your contact information. Sometimes they’ll even call you. 

How do you spot scammers? Start by checking the sender. Is the text or call from a random phone number? Does the email look credible or does it look like it came from a sketchy free platform? Always check the source. Second, did they send you a link? GCash, for example, will NEVER send you an email asking to click a link. Scammers have become clever to make sure they no longer have typos on their message alerts. They used to misspell words like GAcsh or replace letters with numbers like GC4sh, but they’ve leveled-up to replicating official web pages by using the same visuals or actual promos to phish details from users.

Their goal is to get your One Time PIN (OTP) so they can link their device to your account, and your MPIN so they can login. If they can’t get your MPIN, they will try to ask for more OTPs in order to reset your MPIN. If you’ve been saving money for your pending bills and you don’t want to wake up as a player in Squid Game, never give out your MPIN and the OTPs that you receive on your phones.

However, scammers have found creative ways to sneakily get these info so it’s important to expose them and  get to know their methods. Here are some examples:

  • Hiram mobile phone – they borrow your phone for a variety of excuses but their real intent is to request OTPs to be sent to your phone so they can reset the MPINs themselves without you knowing.
  • Shoulder surfing – from the name itself, they spy over your shoulder to steal personal information that might help them in hacking your account.
  • Live selling sessions – this usually happens to online sellers when they broadcast what’s on their phones. Scammers just need good timing to initiate the OTP, display it on your screen for all to see, and therefore compromise your account.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of any of these suspicious instances or if you have concerns with any of the GCash services, the best way to address them is through the Help Center accessible within the app only.

The Christmas season and mega-sales online are happening soon so it’s important to remember this GChecklist: 

(1) check the sender or credibility of any website where you are being redirected 

(2) never share your MPIN or OTP

(3) only do actions within the GCash app. 

Once you tick off everything on this list, make sure you’re G to share this so your friends and family can protect themselves, too. For your holiday hauls, don’t forget: magpa-budol wisely!
For more information, visit gcash.com.  

Tech & Innovation

Social media can be a lifesaver for international new ventures

Newly established international firms and start-ups with limited resources can effectively use social media to learn about their new foreign markets and customers in a fast and inexpensive way.

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The use of social media can be beneficial to international new ventures and help them to survive. This is according to a study – Early Internationalization in the Digital Context: A Capabilities-based Approachfrom the University of Vaasa, Finland, which also showed that newly established international firms and start-ups with limited resources can effectively use social media to learn about their new foreign markets and customers in a fast and inexpensive way.

For any international new venture, acquiring enough foreign market knowledge can be a matter of life and death. According to Emmanuel Kusi Appiah’s doctoral dissertation, an international new venture can use social media, and then employ ambidextrous learning in its knowledge development process. Ambidextrous learning means using two diverse ways of learning: exploratory learning and exploitative learning.

Exploratory learning helps the company to discover new threats and opportunities in its environment. Exploitative learning, on the other hand, utilises the current market information the firm already has.

“A company can use social media for exploitative learning, but also for exploratory learning to survive in foreign markets. The company can also switch between these two approaches,  according to the situation and company strategy. The use of social media has a positive impact on ambidextrous learning,” says Emmanuel Kusi Appiah.

Firms can benefit from social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook in their networking efforts. In addition, social media tools such as Buzzsumo, Tagboard and AgoraPulse can provide the necessary knowledge about customers, competitors, and existing and new markets, thereby reducing the difficulties a new firm would otherwise face in foreign markets. Acquiring knowledge is usually more difficult when a firm is new, especially if it is new and foreign.

Ambidextrous learning can help firms to combine new external knowledge with existing knowledge and prevent inefficiency and short-sightedness. It can also help firms to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Emmanuel Kusi Appiah reminds us that applying ambidextrous learning is not straightforward. Entrepreneurs and companies that are planning to move into a new market internationally need to understand the drivers and mechanisms that support ambidexterity. The dissertation provides valuable information regarding this aspect.

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Tech & Innovation

Eastern Communications announces holiday deals

Bounce back and spur productivity with Eastern Communications’ special limited-time offers, featuring its reliable Fiber1 and Internet Direct Service (IDS) connectivity solutions paired with exclusive promos and freebies for new subscribers.

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The holiday season is right around the corner and it is the busiest time for many enterprises, catching up with the demand of customers. While there have been ups and downs that helped strengthen various sectors, businesses have gradually returned to normalcy in their day-to-day operations.

With the steady demand for connectivity and ICT solutions in the new normal, premier telecommunications company Eastern Communications treats SMEs with its latest holiday deals to help them further emerge in the most anticipated season of the year.

Bounce back and spur productivity with Eastern Communications’ special limited-time offers, featuring its reliable Fiber1 and Internet Direct Service (IDS) connectivity solutions paired with exclusive promos and freebies for new subscribers.

Business Boosters

Recommended for retail and e-commerce start-ups and SMEs, Eastern Communications offers Business Boosters to new subscribers of the Eastern Fiber1 or IDS Select plan until December 31, 2022. Aside from the high-speed internet service, businesses are eligible for up to Php3,000 worth of Lazada Gift Cards. With these gift vouchers, you can now check out the business devices on your wish lists!

Festive Freebies

They say great things come in threes! For businesses in Metro Manila, new Eastern Fiber1 subscribers can choose this promo to receive exclusive freebies such as three months of free monthly service fee, a Microsoft Surface Laptop, and a Sophos Intercept X Endpoint Security License.

This promo is recommended for emerging companies that have plans for expansion. With integrated ZTNA and a world-class next-generation endpoint product, the free Sophos Intercept X Endpoint Security Solution is perfect for remote working setups. Don’t miss out on this exclusive holiday promo until December 31, 2022 only.

Empowering business to emerge from the pandemic, Eastern Communications has been reaching out to support SMEs throughout the year with its expansion efforts, promotions, and award-winning E-Huddle webinars, and aims to continue doing so in 2023.

For more information about Eastern Communications’ products and services as well as promos, visit www.eastern.com.ph/ or call 5300-7000 (Metro Manila) or 0919-081-7788 & 0917-300-7788 (Regional).

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Tech & Innovation

Food advertisements on Twitch can lead to cravings, purchases

Fifteen percent of study participants reported experiencing cravings of products they saw advertised on Twitch, and 8% reported buying the advertised products.

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Food advertisements on social media are pervasive, but research has not yet comprehensively documented the effects of these ads on adolescents and young adults. A new study by researchers at Penn State and Dartmouth College found that advertisements on the social media platform Twitch can lead to cravings for and purchasing of nutrient-poor foods like candy and energy drinks among some adolescents and young adults.

Twitch is a streaming platform that allows viewers to have conversations while sharing a common video feed. It offers channels across a broad range of topics including travel, sports, food, art and music. But videogame play is the original — and by far most common — use of the platform.

The use of Twitch is growing rapidly, with over six billion hours of content viewed on the platform during the first three months of 2021. This represented a 97% increase over the same period in 2020.

“People can be baffled by Twitch, but anyone old enough to have played home videogames as a teenager likely had a similar experience,” said Travis Masterson, assistant professor of nutrition, Broadhurst Career Development Professor for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and co-author of the research. “You would go over to a friend’s house after school, or on Saturday morning, and if they were trying to get through a particularly tough part of a videogame, you might sit and watch them play. The videogame was an excuse for a conversation. This was certainly true for me. Twitch offers the same opportunity to hang out in a community with your friends, but now it is all online.

“Endorsement deals on Twitch can be worth many millions of dollars, and younger people — who are always attractive to advertisers — are moving their eyeballs away from television into these more interactive forms of entertainment, often to Twitch specifically,” added Masterson.

The researchers noted that, as the popularity of Twitch increased, advertising for nutrient-poor foods like candy and energy drinks became more common on the platform. The research team, which included Jennifer Emond, associate professor of biomedical data science and pediatrics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, and Catherine Pollack, Emond’s former graduate student, wanted to understand how advertising on Twitch affected the cravings and purchasing habits of viewers.

The team recruited 568 Twitch users through Reddit. Participants were predominantly male and either non-Hispanic White or Asian. Using three existing instruments for measuring food cravings, the researchers sought to understand whether they could predict which people were more susceptible to food advertising.  

In a publication in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the researchers demonstrated that some Twitch viewers are more likely than others to remember, crave and purchase brands that they see advertised on the streaming platform. The researchers also found that three questions from an instrument called the External Food Cue Responsiveness inventory could help identify members of this “highly susceptible” group. Highly susceptible viewers endorsed the statements, “I want food or drinks that I see others eating,” “I want to eat when people talk about food” and “I notice restaurant signs/logos.” 

Fifteen percent of study participants reported experiencing cravings of products they saw advertised on Twitch, and 8% reported buying the advertised products. Masterson said that the researchers were concerned that people who are highly susceptible to advertising and who spend multiple hours per day on Twitch could be prone to buying foods that undermine their health.

“In academic research, we are playing catch up with food advertisers,” Masterson explained. “Advertising is pervasive for a reason: It works, and companies understand how it works. People tend to understand that children are susceptible to advertising messages, but we often like to think that once we grow up and start making our own decisions, adults are immune to advertising’s power. But advertising didn’t grow to be a $100 billion-plus industry in the United States because it is ineffective. Advertising works on us, and on a subset of us, it is especially effective.”

Masterson added that academic researchers need to understand consumer behavior as well as advertisers, so that society can determine what advertising is or is not safe in different environments.

“This is a single study, and these results cannot be generalized to everyone, but the study still has broad implications,” said Masterson. “This research shows that some people are highly susceptible to advertising and that the External Food Cue Responsiveness inventory can help researchers identify those vulnerable people.

“I am a gamer. I am on Twitch and am part of these communities,” Masterson continued. “It bothers me when I am watching League of Legends, for example, and I see a branded candy ad in the middle of the game. It bothers me because I know that these ads affect people, including me. This work provides researchers with one tool for understanding who is most affected, and in the long run, that could promote greater health for gamers and everyone who is exposed to food advertising.”

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