What is VoIP Phishing?

VoIP phishing, also known as vishing, is a criminal cyber practice that uses social engineering over the VoIP system to gain access to confidential data and financial information of individuals. The attack is used by cyber criminals often for the purpose of stealing credit card numbers and other confidential information used in identity theft schemes.

How Phishing Works?

Phishing is a simple yet destructive trick, and it works like this: scammers send you an e-mail or a voicemail making it appear as if it is from a legitimate financial company or an online retail outlet you are affiliated with—like eBay, Paypal or your bank. In the message, you are informed about a problem with your account and directed to a site or to call a phone number where you will be asked to provide your personal data like your username and password, credit card number, security code, etc.

Some users are so naive that attackers easily trick them into giving their personal information, which are often used to make transactions using their credit card or create cloned credit cards.

Some Examples of Phishing

1. You receive an e-mail from eBay, Paypal or other online companies, informing you of some issue on your account, and saying that your account needs to be frozen. You are requested to go to a given link and provide your personal information in order to get your account working again.

2. You receive a voice mail from your online banking saying that someone tried to access your account. You are requested to call a number and provide your credentials, so you can change your existing credentials.

3. You receive a phone call, saying that there’s a fraudulent or suspicious activities linked to your bank account, and asking you to provide certain details to ward off threats and stop the fraudulent activities.

VoIP and Phishing

VoIP phishing is more convenient for attackers than PSTN phishing because of the following reasons:

• With voice over IP, attackers can more easily tamper with your caller ID and make it appear as if it is your bank or a trusted company that is calling you.
• VoIP software gives so much power to the user that even people with basic tech knowledge can operate its deployment and create a collection of fake numbers they can use to lure victims without revealing their fraud identity.
• VoIP hardware, such as ATAs, IP phones, IP-PBXs and routers, are very affordable and the software that comes along with these hardware are more user-friendly, thus making it easier for cyber criminals to use these devices to their advantage.
• With VoIP, attackers can send one message to hundreds of recipients in one go, which makes it easier to find victims.
• VoIP can create a virtual number for any country. A phisher can then use the created local number and make calls overseas; therefore, imitating popular institutions in Singapore to seek for victims.

How to Prevent Phishing and Avoid Getting Victimized

To avoid voip phishing scams, use a managed office voice communications server hosted by a trusted service provider from Singapore. More importantly, heed these advices from voice over IP experts.

• Do not call any telephone number provided in an e-mail or in a phone call regarding possible security issues with your bank account or credit card. The only number you should be calling is your bank’s contact number, which should be found in your bank account statement. If you receive any malicious e-mail or phone call about your account’s security, take the safer route and personally go to your bank.

• Banks and credit card companies in Singapore normally address their account holders by their full names in any form of communication. If a phone call or e-mail does not refer to your full name, it is possibly a scam.

• If anyone is claiming to be a credit card provider and requests for your card number, ask to call back and call the contact number on the back of your credit card or in your account statement to ask about the attempt. If the first call is legit, your card provider will surely have knowledge of it.

• Note all of your account transactions every month. Be always on the lookout for suspicious activities. By doing so, you can act immediately and stop further illegal transactions from taking place using your information.

• Make sure your mobile number, landline number and e-mail are all registered with your bank. Having all these information will allow your bank to send you alerts when any suspicious transaction takes place.

• Check for the “https://” in the address bar of all e-commerce sites you visit. Look for proper certification and encryption, especially when you are directed to a website over an e-mail or phone call.

• Voice over internet protocol can be used more securely with software filters. How? Reach out to Crystal Voice to learn more about the different methods of securing your Singapore business from phishing and scams. Working with a secure host allows you to use mobile voip anytime without worrying about the safety of your line and the data shared. Other protective features you can use when engaging with Crystal Voice include call recording, blacklisting, virus protection and spam filters to keep your VoIP network secured.

VoIP in Singapore is one of the major targets of cyber criminals. However, as with all types of cyber attacks, user awareness is the key to security. If you and your staff are all aware of what vishing is, how it works and how to spot possible attacks, you have the best line of defence against these fraud activities.

The 7 Key Roles of a Property Manager

Most of us know that property managers and property management companies exist, but many are not aware of what their roles are. By definition, a property management is a third-party entity who is employed by property owners to handle real estate operations. These professionals are capable and licensed to manage all types of real estate properties—from residential houses to large buildings with multiple rental units.

Although the roles and responsibilities of a managing agent vary on the agreement between the agent and the property owner, these professionals likely take care of estate maintenance and play these important roles.

1. Rental Management

• Setting Rental Value – It is part of the duty of a managing agent to set the right rental value of a property to make it attractive to prospect tenants. By considering the location and amenities, as well as the comparability of the property in the area, the property manager is able to set the most appropriate rental value for your real estate.
• Adjusting Rental Cost– the condo manager can also suggest increasing the rental value by a certain percentage annually, according to local or national law. They can also reduce the rent cost of your property if necessary.
• Collecting Rental Payments – To ensure optimal cash flow, they will set a date when to collect rent every month and impose penalty to late payments.

2. Property Maintenance and Repairs

• Maintenance – Another important role of an estate manager in Singapore includes handling apartment maintenance to keep the property in its pristine condition. They are the ones in-charge to look for property management contractors for plumbing leakage, pest extermination, landscaping and other estate maintenance works. These pros aim to keep tenants happy with their current homes and attract new ones once the unit is vacated.
• Repairs – If there is an issue, the manager will hire someone to fix it. They often have a large collection of contacts of professional contractors here in Singapore.

3. Tenant Responsibilities

• Advertising Vacant Units – Hiring a real estate manager means you will not have to stress yourself advertising your units to find prospect tenants. Property managers know very well where to post advertisements and what to show in the ad to attract prospects.
• Screening Prospects – A good condo manager is not going to settle with just any prospect. It is part of their duties to screen prospects and make sure that the tenant can afford and has the means to pay the rental on time. This means they are going to run a screening process, which includes checking credit records and criminal history. Since these professionals have met hundreds of tenants, they already know how to spot good renters—those who can pay on time, have longer tenancy plans and are less likely to create serious problems—from the bad ones.
• Addressing Emergencies and Complaints – They are also courteous at handling tenant complaints and have the necessary contacts to handle emergency situations, such as plumbing or electrical problems.
• Managing Move-Outs – When a renter moves out, the managing agent will inspect the unit to check for any damage and to determine how much of the security deposit will be returned. After the tenant has moved out, the manager will also have to clean the unit, repair any damage and find a new tenant.
• Execution of Tenant Eviction – when a renter violates an agreement or does not pay the rent, the real estate manager knows how to file and execute the eviction the proper way.

4. Supervisory Duties

• Estate Employees – Other employees in the property, such as the security guards, housekeepers and concierge, are supervised by the property manager to ensure that they do their job well. If allowed by the owner, the property manager has the power to set the salaries and even fire employees.
• Vacant Units – Besides checking the unit after the tenant has moved out, property managers always keep vacant unit regularly checked to make sure that there is no pest infestation and that the vacant units remain in their best conditions.

5. Implementation of Legal Matters

A seasoned property manager has in-depth knowledge of laws here in Singapore regarding the proper ways to:
• Handle security deposits
• Screen tenants
• Terminate lease
• Evict tenants
• Comply with the safety standards

6. Managing Budget and Maintaining Records

• Managing Budget – The property manager should operate within the given budget. During emergency situations, when the building’s structure or the tenant is in danger, they often use their own judgement to order major repairs.
• Keeping Records – This is an accounting task that’s part of the responsibilities of a condo manager. The record should include the income and expenses; inspections, repairs and maintenance made; and insurance cost and rent collection. Non-accounting matters, like tenant complaints, signed leases and maintenance requests, should also be part of the manager’s record.

7. Tax Responsibilities

• Licensed property managers know very well the taxes associated with owning a property for rent. Therefore, they can assist property owners with understanding the documents and the processes needed in filing taxes for property investment.
• For easier solution, the property owner can also leave the filing of tax to the managing agent.

There are many elements to consider when you choose to invest in real estate. Whether you are thinking of buying a property or having someone to manage your real estate business, you can benefit from the professional services of a skilled and licensed property management.

Pros and Cons of a Registered and Unregistered Trademark

A growing business needs more than just an effective marketing and advertising strategy because consumers want to look for brands that they can trust. Your company’s image, the range of clientele, and your reputation among consumers and competition can go a long way, and that is where branding or trademark comes in handy.

Knowing the differences between an unregistered and a registered trademark in Singapore can help you decide which is best for your company.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark refers to the design, symbol or phrase that distinguishes a product or service from others. In some cases, the trademark might also refer to the service mark or the work, phrase, or symbol that identifies the source of the goods or service rather than the products themselves. Distinguishing your products from those of your competitors creates a brand but it is also a method to protect your brand from copycats. Examples of trademarks, regardless if it is a registered TM or not, are logos, brand names, slogans, patterns of shapes or colors, and catchphrases. A registered mark is similar to patents and copyrights, because they are all protected by intellectual property rights. However, you need to record trade marks for your brand in Singapore to fully enjoy the protection of the law. Once you get to register your trademark, it will not expire unlike the patents and copyrights which are only covered within a term of years. Trademarks can be used for a long time through continuous use and renewal of registration after several years.

What is an Unregistered Trademark?

It is not mandatory to for any company to register trademark in Singapore. It is still called a trademark and is even protected under the common law rights if it is an established brand for years. However, an unregistered trademark cannot be protected from copycats and frauds that want to take advantage of the popularity of the brand. The company cannot also claim legal ownership, ask for compensation, and even place the symbol ® on the brand name or logo, which means registered sign. The unregistered trademark can only use ™ or SM, which will also indicate the intent to apply for trademark registration in Singapore.

What is a Registered Trademark?

A brand that has been approved for trademark registration is protected by the intellectual property rights law in Singapore, but the company can also apply to register the trademark internationally. The local coverage of the trademark means that the owner has exclusive use of the trademark nationwide. The company also has the exclusive rights to enjoy all the benefits of the registered mark and can pursue copycats and frauds if there is an infringement.

Pros and Cons of a Registered Mark

A registered mark not only differentiates you from your competitors and creates a trusted brand for consumers, but it also has several other benefits such as the following:

1. The public will easily remember your products and/or services especially if you have a good reputation among clients/customers and vendors.

2. The registered mark may be used for additional revenues through franchising. This means that you can allow other parties to sell products and/or services as long as they pay you for the use of the trademark registration.

3. Trademark registration will discourage other parties from taking advantage of your company’s reputation to sell their own products or services. You are protected by the laws from infringement and will be recognized as the sole owner of the trademark. This means that the copycat will carry the burden of proving that they did not use your trademark or used a nearly-identical trademark to sell their products or services.

4. If you register TM, you are also making an addition to one of your company’s assets. Remember that a registered mark is also an intangible property that can be sold, licensed, and assigned. So, why is it a form of property? The registered mark is attached to the reputation of the business or company, unlike an unregistered trademark that cannot separate independently from the company that uses it.

5. You need a trademark registration if you want to protect your brand overseas. Intellectual property rights are territorial, which means that when you register TM in Singapore, your company is only protected in the country. However, you can make use of the Madrid System to protect your brand outside of Singapore. This is helpful for companies that want to expand outside the country or are already selling their goods and/or services elsewhere. It will be easier to get compensation for counterfeit trademarks that hope to take advantage of a foreign business’s reputation.

There are also some disadvantages to trademark registration because the owner needs to show proof when renewing the registration that the trademark has been used continuously for the past five years since its registration. This problem can easily be averted if the company is still using the trademark. The trademark registration fee and the application and renewal processes might also be a hassle because of the number of requirements. However, trademark registration is a lot easier than pursuing an infringement or protecting yourself from infringement.

There might also be problems when it comes to changing the trademark, because the company must apply for a new trademark registration in Singapore. At best, these disadvantages are just minor problems that can be solved if you know the registration process and have completed all the requirements, such as defining the goods or services covered by the trademark. Oppositions to the application can also happen, but these are rare occurrences.

Do You Need Help with Your Sales Management?

Getting ahead of competition means that you need to set up an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system that will not only improve your sales reports, but streamline your company’s sales management and overall customer service.

How do you determine if your current setup is lacking, or if you do not have a CRM system yet, how do you know if you need one?

One way to approach the problem is to get to know the features of an effective CRM software, such as a cloud CRM, and compare them the CRM system that your company in Singapore currently has.

Do You Need to Organize Sales Information?

The CRM system will not just help your company with its basic reporting, but it is also a useful tool for tracking. One of its features includes the pipeline view, where the sales team can easily view new sales leads, contacts, and recently closed sales. It might sound quite simple, but this feature can help the team organize its contacts, improve management and tracking, reduce errors, and simplify the sales and marketing process.

Do You Need Help with Marketing Automation?

If your company in Singapore has an existing system for marketing automation, this can be easily integrated with the CRM system to get a better idea how the sales cycle unfolds. This will allow you to look for gaps in the system that might be causing delays or errors to create an optimized and improved customer service. Some of the benefits of marketing and CRM integration include data about buyer’s behavior, come up with new leads, maximize the marketing budget, and increase sales revenue.

Do You Need to Improve Your Customer Research?

What makes the CRM software such an indispensable tool for businesses in Singapore is its efficiency and reliability in data collection. To select the best type of CRM system for your company, you need to understand its different functions that each fulfill an essential role in customer relationship management; such as core, niche, enterprise, and standard functions. For a company that needs to improve its customer research, it needs to consider the standard features of the CRM system; which includes the following: document storage, basic and custom reporting, customer interaction, email integration and mobile access, social media access, marketing integration, and quotes.

Do You Need to Integrate E-Mail Marketing?

There is a common misconception about the use of a CRM system solely for the purposes of a sales department, but a CRM software can also provide an integrated email system that can be used for marketing. This is helpful for any type of company in Singapore that wants to upgrade their e-mail systems and hire a third-party email marketing provider.

Do You Need Information from Your Company Website?

If you also need to interact with customers through the company website, it would be more practical to integrate the web pages to your CRM software. This makes managing client relationships program in Singapore more convenient. It helps the sales management department to collect data that were acquired through the website much easier, rather than re-entering the data from the website to transfer them to the CRM system. The latter could result in errors and inconsistencies in the collection of data.

Do You Need to Use Social Media?

Most companies in Singapore have seen opportunities for growth by using social media to reach out to customers and potential customers. However, switching between different applications can be a hassle for the sales management team without the use of a CRM software. The customer relationship management tool will directly feed information directly into the system, creating less distraction and an easier path for your employees.

Do You Need Customized Reports?

One of the most useful features of a CRM system for the sales management team is the data storage and sales reports. A cloud CRM will make it easy for the sales team to organize, sort, and make sense of various data to reduce errors and focus on pursuing sales leads than spend time on making reports. The data is also up-to-date, accurate, and accessible anytime anywhere. Customized reports using the CRM software usually includes demographics, sales profits, leads, and the sales cycle.

Do You Need to Manage Customer Complaints?

Part of your responsibility for setting up an effective customer relationship management system is to receive and respond to customer complaints. There are instances where the concern of the customer resulted from a misunderstanding of the information given during the purchase of the product and/or service. A CRM system will help you handle these complaints easily, so that the sales team knows what to do to prevent it from recurring.

Do You Need to Know How to Keep Loyal Customers?

Part of your responsibility as a trustworthy company is to keep your customers happy with a long-term deal. This means that you need to deal with queries from the customer intelligently to prevent any misunderstandings. One feature of a CRM system is to identify your customer’s needs and to collect data about their responses to help you formulate a strategy to exceed their expectations. If a customer does not hesitate to purchase your products and/or services, then that means he/she is satisfied. They are also more likely to purchase new products and/or services from you, because most would not want to risk going for new items that they cannot trust. A customer’s trust is an important part in getting ahead of competition, that is why you should not think of the CRM system as an added expense.

The Advantages of Hiring a Freight Forwarder

Whether your business is small or large, if you are dealing with the transportation of physical goods, you have probably thought about using logistics services. While many people tend to underestimate the importance of a logistics company like freight forwarding services, those who employ the services of a good freight forwarder already have an advantage over their competitors. Whether through local freight or international freight, there are many ways that a freight forwarder can benefit your business.

1. Flexibility

In the fast-moving business of transportation, being able to change your decisions to accommodate new information is necessary. Flexibility can make sure that your decisions are the best for-profit and productivity; hiring freight forwarders mean that you can change your choices about shipping companies or methods without too much of a hassle.

Flexibility is especially important for companies and business that have yet to understand and pinpoint their shipping needs. Freight forwarders can give new business owners a low-risk way to figure out what shipping methods and techniques work best for them.

2. Versatility

The transportation business requires a lot of moving parts, all of which magnify the possibility of a problem occurring. The expertise of freight forwarders allows them to quickly mitigate transportation problems when they arise, which is an invaluable skill in the business of shipping where missing deadlines could mean lost profits.

Good forwarders have the experience and know-how to quickly react and solve issues the moment they appear, like air freight delays or rerouted sea freight shipments. Without a freight forwarder, you would have to deal with these issues yourself, taking your time away from more profitable and important tasks. It makes sense to leave logistics to a logistics company, so let freight forwarders in Singapore do the job for you.

3. Cost-effective

Freight forwarding services allow you to save money on your shipment. Since the shipping company transports items in bulk, freight forwarders can negotiate lower terms with carriers, whether your shipments are via air freight or sea freight. Freight forwarders can also have other financial benefits, such as providing you with knowledgeable advice that is beneficial for your customers.

Hiring a freight forwarding company in Singapore can give you have the knowledge to confidently talk to customers about their shipments on matters like fees, insurance, and port chargers. Freight forwarders also give you insights on market fluctuations, allowing you to make the appropriate changes to your business.

4. Hassle-free

It is the responsibility of your sea freight and logistics in Singapore to take care of all types of documentation, from bills to bank payments, to contacting your shipping company. They can assure you that all documents have been filled out and sent to the correct people on time. Having someone else do your documentation for you can have a lot of advantages.

First, you could save on costs, as experienced freight forwarder already knows the ins and outs of most documents needed when moving items from one place to another, so they don’t have to spend as much time with documentation as you would. Second, you could also save money and time, as the knowledge forwarders mean that they will most likely create fewer errors than you. Finally, you could also save energy as you don’t have to worry about various deadlines and regulations.

5. No more dealing with customs

Considering the rules and regulations of customs can make freight forwarding confusing and complicated, especially for new business owners. As every country has their own set of rules and regulations, shipping can require you to keep track of a lot of things. Especially if you are shipping your items to many different countries, taking note and keeping track of all the different rules and regulations can take a lot of effort.

However, if you use a freight forwarding company, you don’t have to worry about international freight; freight forwarders can keep track of the different requirements and regulations of different countries, making sure that your items can go through borders without issue. Even with local freight, a forwarding company can make sure that your shipments adhere to the rules and regulations of Singapore.

6. Provide additional services to customers

Freight forwarders can allow you can give you customers value-added services that give you a leg-up on your competitors. Some freight forwarding services give you details that, while not completely necessary, may be beneficial to your customers. These services can include purchase tracking and on-demand reporting. When choosing a freight forwarder, it would be helpful to note if they offer these additional services.

7. Manageability

It is important for businesses to be able to manage all the information that is necessary to their business. Being able to manage information, like stock numbers and arrival dates is necessary to help you optimize your business for a smooth and profitable operation. A general logistics company offers services that are too broad, giving you information that you don’t need from multiple departments. Freight forwarders, however, focus on getting your packages from one place to another, and can quickly get back to you should a problem arise.

Of course, there are disadvantages that come with working with freight forwarders. This includes losing control of your packages; once you give your packages to a freight forwarder, you are no longer in control of it. There are also freight forwarders that are unregulated, depending on the country from which they hail. However, when you consider the ease and flexibility that a freight forwarding company can provide you, the advantages they provide can greatly outweigh the disadvantages.