The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has in recent years increased the shift and reliance in the use of information technology for its staff and members.
To reduce the further spread of the Covid-19, GIPF encourages members to make use of online platforms such as the GIPF member portal, regional call centre lines and regional email addresses to access services.
“The fund pleads with members to always remain vigilant when using our online platforms, specifically the member portal. We encourage members to keep their passwords private,” said information systems security officer Martin Hamukwaya.
“It’s the dawn of a New Year – and as such, we reflect on a very difficult year when it comes to Covid-19. During this time, everyone is in a joyous, celebratory and free-spirited mood, yet others are quite anxious about the year ahead. With an entire year upon us, certain individuals dread thinking about what the year holds for them due to financial constraints. It is with this background in mind that I wish to caution our members to be observant when it comes to their finances,” he added.
He advised mischievous people would approach you for their benefit to rob you of your hard-earned savings, saying they are prone to use the following vectors, personal and electronic scams such as emails, WhatsApp, text messages and phone calls.
Before responding to prompts via any of the above means of communication, Hamukwaya urged the nation to verify the legitimacy of the person contacting them. Where one is requested to share personal information, he advises people to scrutinise the information.
“Refrain from sharing any of your personal information like pins, debit card/credit card numbers, and any other personal information. When making use of ATMs, swiping your card at any place or making use of online banking, be aware of your surroundings and ensure your personal details are protected,” outlined Hamukwaya.
He further added a few tips to set up complex and lengthy passwords, which consists of at least 12 characters when using the GIPF online portal, online banking and email addresses.
“When creating a password, consider the following: do not use personal information, do not make your password easy to guess, do not write your password down, do not share your password, do not use alphabet sequence (abcdef…), number sequence (1234567) or keyboard sequence (asdfghjkl); use a passphrase – make it something you can visualise; use a mixture of upper/lower case, numbers and special characters,” he noted.
Additionally, Hamukwaya encourages members and the public to be wary of increased phishing and ransomware attacks.
“Communication via emails has increased drastically during the pandemic and will continue to rise in the near future. Therefore, some people (hackers) with malicious intent also make use of this opportunity to send out emails or direct messages to different social media platforms. These dishonest emails or direct messages often require you to install an executable file that encrypts your data or prompt you to click on a link, which will further request you to provide more information about yourself. When you come across such emails, you are encouraged to scrutinise who the sender is as well as the content, and it should be familiar to you before you can reply or act upon the mail. However, you may delete,” he encouraged.