Holiday shopping has changed a lot in the last few years with major online shopping events from around the world gaining popularity in Australia. This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales were one of the biggest online shopping days in Australia, kicking off the pre-Christmas rush. Cyber Monday broke records in the US hitting US$3.45 billion in online sales, up 12 per cent from last year with Australia and the rest of the world following suit.

But with the increase in online holiday shopping comes a commensurate increase in the instances of fraud. Australian internet businesses suffer dramatically more card fraud than the global average, with online fraud rising by 38% between 2014 — 2015, compared to the global average of 13%.

It’s a lesser-known quirk of the financial industry that, unlike their brick-and-mortar counterparts, online businesses are responsible for not only detecting fraud, but also paying the associated costs. On average, every $1 of fraudulent orders costs an online business an additional $2.69. A couple of weeks ago a foreign syndicate was busted by the Australian Federal Police for the theft of more than 30,000 Australian credit cards, spending more than $30 million. A hefty sum, for sure, but nothing close to the US$32 billion that online retailers spent preventing and remediating hacks in 2015. Online businesses are also susceptible to a wider range of fraud schemes, including credit card fraud, payout scams and faux refunds.

So as the holiday sales kick off, what can online businesses do about it?

The basics: getting started with fraud prevention

To begin, businesses should examine the address verification code (a postcode that matches what’s on file with the cardholder’s bank), require a card verification code (the 3- or 4-digit code on their card), and delay shipping. The latter step is especially helpful for expensive items, as it provides a safety window when the actual cardholder might flag a large fraudulent purchase.

However, these checks aren’t foolproof: Legitimate customers can easily enter a typo in their street address or move and forget to update their billing zip code, resulting in false positives, and fraudsters are often able to buy stolen credit card numbers together with their card verification codes.

The next step is manual reviews: Many business rely on employees to audit transactions and create complex, custom rules (such as, “temporarily block all orders over $500 until reviewed and approved”). All of this sound pretty complicated and manual. The answer? Machine learning.

Let machines do the heavy-lifting

Thanks to recent advances in machine learning and AI, businesses today can analyse millions of online transactions and identify buying patterns across large numbers of retailers, spotting outliers in real-time and flagging odd charges long before a human analyst would spot a problem.

Sift Science offers machine-learning-based fraud detection trained on a business’s data; other tools like Riskified and Signifyd offer chargeback insurance, screening every charge for a fee, blocking suspicious purchase, and compensating their customers when they failed to block fraud.

Stripe’s fraud tool, Radar, constantly learns from the hundreds of thousands of businesses taking payments through Stripe around the world. This new approach enabled Watsi, a global funding platform for medical treatments, to block more than $40 million in attempted fraud over a two-month span, all with limited to no human involvement.

Don’t leave money on the table

Of course, the difficulty with fraud is that pre-emptively blocking too many transactions means foregoing legitimate purchases too. In theory, you could prevent fraud from Southeast Asia by blocking all transactions from Southeast Asia; but that approach means you’d also be foregoing legitimate transactions from one of the world’s most populous regions.

So even once you’ve implemented tools for preventing fraud, it’s important to remember that your ultimate goal isn’t blocking fraud — it’s maximizing revenue. This means you should:

1. Consider multiple metrics: Don’t just focus on one metric like false positive rate (legitimate transactions that you’re blocking) or dispute rate. After all, you can easily make the former zero by not trying to catch any fraud (and the latter zero by not accepting any payments). Your overall fraud protection approach will offer a trade-off between false positives and false negatives, and you should understand what that trade-off is and what is optimal for your business. This break-even calculator can give you an example of the kind of calculations it can be helpful to do.

2. Find your “healthy” dispute rate: Unsurprisingly, fraud varies by sector. For example, the median fraud rate for retail is 0.02 per cent, while for nonprofits it’s 0.1%. Once you know your industry’s rate, compare it to your business’ unique situation and data to identify a “healthy” fraud benchmark. Trying to drive your dispute rate far below what is natural for your sector can be more effort than it’s worth.

3. Always be measuring: No matter what solution you choose, be rigorous in assessing efficacy. For example, if you’re manually customising rules, you can evaluate their performance by backtesting them or by running A/B tests in real-time. Don’t rely on intuition that tells you all payments from a certain region, or at a certain time of day, are fraudulent. Formulate your hypothesis and validate it with data!

On the internet, the only constant is change itself. As consumer behaviour and fraud schemes continue to evolve, businesses that want to maximise their revenue this holiday season — and year round — should be using modern fraud defences that can adapt and help them stay a step ahead of fraudsters.

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Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks launched to protest dolphin hunting.

A masked hacker, part of the Anonymous group, hacks the French presidential Elysee Palace website in this 2012 file photo. The group is said to be behind a growing number of attacks in Japan. (JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)

Cyber-attacks against targets in Japan, apparently carried out by international hacker group Anonymous, have been increasing since September.

Last autumn, a number of government websites and other sites came under attack.

However, the recent attacks are different from sophisticated cyber-attacks that aim to steal information.

Experts call for people to respond calmly by taking necessary steps in advance without fearing them too much.

Late at night on Sept. 3, the website of the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims became inaccessible.

Shortly after, a group saying it was Anonymous and opposed to dolphin hunting and other issues, posted a statement online claiming responsiblity.

An official at the memorial hall said in bewilderment: “We have nothing to do with dolphin hunting.”

It is believed a series of Anonymous attacks, called Operation Killing Bay, started around 2013 in protest against Japan’s whale hunting and the annual dolphin hunts in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, in September.

Last year, to protest against the dolphin hunting in Taiji, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were launched against government offices websites and infrastructure operators such as airports. DDoS attacks are aimed at rendering websites and other online services unavailable by sending a huge amount of data to the server.

According to police, the number of cyber-attacks Anonymous is believed to be involved in has grown since September. There were no cyber-attack-related website problems from May to August, but 29 incidents were confirmed in September, followed by 26 in October. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 27, there were 53 cases, bringing the total from September to Nov. 27 to 108.

In comparison, incidents ranged between the 10s and 20s each month from September to November last year, but rose to 56 in December.

“Their aim is not to make websites unavailable, but to promote their presence,” said Nobuhiro Tsuji, senior security researcher at SoftBank Technology Corp.

This year, the targets of the attacks have conspicuously been small organizations and shops such as izakaya Japanese pubs, and groups totally unrelated to dolphin hunting.

“The hackers could be different from last year, and their resources could be smaller,” Tsuji said.

When Anonymous started around 2006, it advocated the establishment of the freedom of the Internet and made political appeals through legally permitted activities such as street demonstrations.

Now, Anonymous tends to carry out cyber-attacks with the aid of unknown individuals who respond to invitations on Twitter and other websites.

The website of the Kasumigaura river office of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry came under attack in 2012. Anonymous is believed to have confused Kasumigaura with Tokyo’s bureaucratic district of Kasumigaseki.

Anonymous’ main attack method, DDoS, can be committed without significant expertise. There is almost no way to defend against such attacks. It is a matter of waiting for an attack to cease, although measures have recently been developed to mitigate damage.

“Compared to cyber-attacks aimed at stealing information, DDoS attacks are not so sophisticated. In most cases, the websites attacked went down and that was it,” said Masakatsu Morii, a professor at Kobe University specializing in information and telecommunications engineering.

Some observers point out that such cyber-attack could increase ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Morii said, “It is important that companies and organizations take necessary measures calmly. If they are attacked, they should respond coolly without overreacting.”

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Your car and its important parts definitely need regular check-ups to ensure its good running condition. Car owners should also make the regular maintenance of their cars a priority to avoid being ripped off later on. Provided in the following are the specific car parts that should be taken care of on a regular basis:

Catalytic converters

Since 1993, this converter was then included in all petrol exhaust systems and was designed to reduce the dangerous effects of fumes such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen being emitted into the atmosphere. Catalytic converters can decrease the harmful effects of toxic gases by converting them into water vapour and less harmful gases. Such converters can also last for some time but still needs regular check-ups where you can contact Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group or your trusted car service provider to assist you in this matter.

Brakes

With Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group's brake experts, you can get a cost-effective brake maintenance service. Pay a visit to a car service provider at least twice a year to make sure of your car’s optimum performance for average or greater than average annual mileage cars. You can also select from the broad range of brake systems for car and light commercial vehicles offered by Tyre&Auto depots that match the needs of your car. A free check-up is also available at their depots and it includes the following:

- Digital measurement of wear on brake pads

- Discs

- Shoes and drums

- A complete list of the actual condition of your braking system

- No-obligation price quote for works needed to be done

Tyres

Keeping the good performance of your car and ensuring the safety of all people concerned also involves tyres replacement. Choosing the proper size and the type of tyres that fits your car would be easier with the help of Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group. In addition, tyres are classified based on the date and place they were manufactured, speed, load capacity, and size.

The lifespan of a tyre greatly depends on different aspects such as the mileage of a car, places it has been frequently used, and the driving habits of the user. Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group and their specialists will definitely guide you in doing what is the best for your car.

Maintaining the value of your car as well as extending its lifespan requires regular maintenance. Go to your trusted car service provider and seek their quality service to take care of your car properly. Experts at Tyre&Auto Southbourne are also well-trained and have advanced tools and diagnostic techniques, making them capable of handling any brand and type of car.

An excellent service is certain with Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group because it is not just a professional company, it is also a place that provides amiable and trustworthy services, no fraud and just honest transactions, and continuously building camaraderie with its customers with the honest attitude of its staff, making people always feel at ease with them.

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There are a lot of benefits an individual could get by hiring a dedicated car servicing company since it could meet all your car maintenance and repair needs. From the time you got your own car, you must choose a company that you will trust for a long period of time just like Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group. Following are some of the perks of having the services of a trustworthy and committed car servicing company:

Longer lifespan

To have a healthy and long-lasting machine, it should be a clean machine first. Just like your own body because as long as you're taking good care of it, it will definitely stay healthy. If you want to prevent any unwanted rusts in your car's body or chinks in your engine, then you should perform a regular maintenance on it. Bringing back your vehicle to its “almost” factory-condition requires regular cleaning, especially after going through heavy snow or rain. Some people can do this task alone, while others prefer the help of professionals to ensure the great condition of their cars.

Preserved value

If you're planning to sell your car in the future, it will surely have a high resale value if it is well-maintained. However, a lot of car owners these days don't keep detailed and updated maintenance records because for them, it requires so much time. And this is where the role of a car servicing company becomes crucial because those professionals can do this task well for you. They can also provide regular reminders that will make you perform the required and scheduled tasks properly and on time.

Help prevent major problems

Cars are not perfect vehicles, after all, they may show some faults in the future such as defects caused by the effects of weather and nonstop use. Professionals who have expertise in cars can better determine those faults. Don't wait for minor problems to become major issues, which could lead to huge expenses down the road, be prepared and hire experts beforehand.

Technical expertise

Many ordinary car owners do not have the necessary technical skills and tools to maintain the good shape of their cars, so they settle for the services of a car servicing company such as the Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group instead. Rather than going DIY, they prefer a professional car servicing company to do some tasks such as wheel balancing, electrical repairs, and ignition timing.

Efficient record-keeping

In the hands of a professional car service provider, your car's maintenance and repair log will become valuable.

Companies like Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group can bring savings to an individual or a family because they can shoulder all the responsibilities involved in your car where they will also encourage you to do or focus on more productive tasks instead.

Take good care of your car so that it will maintain its good condition for a long, long time.

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Remindsthat insurance fraud helps finance opioid epidemic

First came Prince, who died from an overdose of thepainkiller fentanyl in his Minnesota home.

Next came singer Chaka Khan. She beat the reaper by enteringinto rehab this month, along with her sister

The Grammy winner admitted fentanyl is her escape drug ofchoice. Chaka wisely gave up her summer concert appearances to focus on gettingclean.

“The battle of addiction is a serious and long process, whichis why I chose to address my use of prescription medications — which came aboutas a result of the knee surgery I had a few years ago,” she said.

Fentanyl is one of latest prescription painkillers to grabheadlines. It’s used for severe pain, and is approved for long term treatment.The stuff also is up to 100 times stronger than morphine, and 50 times strongerthan heroin.

Fentanyl quickly shoots into the bloodstream. Dopamine thenelevates, stoking the brain’s reward areas. The sweet euphoria grows intodependence, then addiction.

States like New Jersey and Mississippi are reporting spikesin fentanyl overdose deaths.

Insurancefraud is the largely untold story. It’s helping finance America’s epidemicof opioid addiction — billions of stolen insurance dollars worth.

Some fentanyl addicts reportedly are scamming health insurersto score prescriptions that feed the need. Same with other painkillers such ashydrocodone, or anti-anxiety meds and muscle relaxants.

Insurance scams may or may not have funded Prince’s orChaka’s highs. Yet scams still are part of the bigger opioid picture, so weshould be very concerned.

Insurers arestepping up investigations, plus education of doctors and patients to head offaddiction. Law enforcement is going after shady pain clinics and pharmaciesthat dole out insurer-paid scripts.

Still, we risk getting exhausted by it all. We’re subject tosteady parades of news stories about people dying from insurance-paidoverdoses. Plus welcome busts of cold-blooded pain docs. They’re keepingaddicts fed with pills — are we getting fed up?

Sadly, it may take a celeb’s drug death or rehab to keepheadlines fresh and the public concerned. Let’s stay concerned, whether it’s aGrammy winner or small-town factory worker just trying to get clean.

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Our Living in Singapore Guide captures all information that we think you need to help making living in Singapore easier for you and your family. All new members will receive a copy of our guide & it is available for existing members to buy at our social events.

Our members also like to share their favorite recommendations, click on the categories below for their recommendations...

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The landscapeof the art industry continually changes due to the rapid evolution oftechnology. Technological innovations have provided artists with new tools toexpress themselves and their ideas. Though the digital art was of great deal inthis modern era, traditional artstill remains vital to a society and to a country’s culture.

 

If you are anart lover and a collector visiting Massachusetts, you won't want to missexploring Hawkfield Consultants Gallery which is located along Boston’s SouthShore, midway between Cape Cod and Boston. The gallery is open for viewing byappointment and features an eclectic variety of American fine arts and folkarts from 20th and 21st century. Bronze sculptures, mini decorative carveddecoys of birds and American impressionism are among the many amazing worksdisplayed in Hawkfield artworks section.

 

You arewelcome to visit and browse their online art catalogue which contains clear andrealistic images of artworks available for sale. Art consultants of Hawkfieldwill gladly assist you throughout the whole process whether you are going tosell your artwork or buy one. Each of the artworks displayed on their site hascorresponding prices and specifications. Hawkfield Gallery uses a salescomparison approach and considers recent auction results when determining thefair market value of an artwork.

 

The galleryis managed by Sally Caverly – an art lover, researcher and conservationist whospends more than two decades collecting impressive arts. She holds a B.A degreein Marketing and later on marched for a Master’s degree in Education. Moreover,Sally serves as a Market Research Division Director of a major publishinghouse.

 

Visit theAbout the Gallery page of the Hawkfield’s site to get an idea to the type ofservice the gallery provides as well as the artists they seek and represented.

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I-Plan(1): Time to be a truly attractive company

Towards a truly attractivecompany

• An attractive company is one in which the management, employeesand their family members feel a sense of prosperity and happiness, andproactively work toward greater customer satisfaction and a higher level ofsocial contribution.

• We will endeavor to become a truly attractive company that seeksto achieve higher levels of public and customer satisfaction and make greatercontributions to society.

"Dedication andself-fulfillment" as our driving forces

• Dedication and self-fulfillment are the driving forces thatenable the management, employees and their family members to feel prosperityand happiness. Dedication and self-fulfillment also generate a virtuous cycleof personal development and corporate growth.

• We will manage the company in such a way as to boost staffdedication and self-fulfillment as driving forces for our evolution into atruly attractive company.

OC Global as one driving forcefor ACK Group

Oriental Consultants Global does more than contribute to theACK Group’s financial performance. It also creates new businesses, leadstechnical development and sophistication, and supplies human resources for manydifferent functions in the Group.

• In all aspects we will act as a driving force of the Group inorder to form an attractive corporate group.

Relationship between staffsatisfaction, customer satisfaction and social contribution

Genuine customer satisfaction and contributions to society arerealized when the services are born from the passion of employees. This is whywe believe that greater staff satisfaction leads to true customer satisfactionand social contribution.

What is prosperity?

Prosperity in these management policies collectively refers to asense of achievement, contentedness, ample time and material and economicwell-being.

Feeling of prosperity

• We will secure and nurture competent human resources, enhancevarious programs and improve the working environment to enable executives,employees and their family members to feel a greater sense of prosperity andhappiness.

• This feeling of prosperity and happiness will heightenmotivation, dedication and self-fulfillment.

Personal development

• We will forge ahead with developing technologies and services tobuild unrivalled quality and technical abilities and sales strengths, and tohelp individuals develop themselves toward ever higher goals.

• This personal development will help establish personal autonomyand turn individuals into true professionals with a sense of responsibility,perseverance and ability to realize their ambitions.

Corporate growth

• We will secure stable earnings and continuously grow by creatingand expanding businesses in existing markets and also in private-sector andinternational markets.

• This constant corporate growth leads to continued pursuit ofcustomer satisfaction and social contribution.

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What is Art? The question has often been asked by many people. Andthe answer can be as many as the people who can give an answer. For the artcollector, the answer is quite obvious: that which you can buy at an artgallery. And that answer can have a logic that many will learn to appreciate.

Firstly, galleries have the artistic, technical and economiccapabilities to know or define what good art is --- not just art but that whichis above the rest, if not at the very top of all the rest. But not many peoplecan afford highly-expensive works, or even reasonably priced ones. If one canbuy and treasure a couple of art works for the rest of one’s life, it would beenough. But a few dream of collecting more -- and even making some money out ofdoing so.

Hawkfield Gallery fine arts consultants have the broad experienceof buying and selling art and in the process have gained the expertise to helpother start their own collection or enhance what they already have. Very muchlike children collecting cards, art collecting is a passion that is shared bythose who love art and wish to expand appreciation for great art works.

Beyond appreciating art as a whole, Hawfield Gallery art consultantshave the goal of enhancing appreciation for folk art and preserving American culture and history contained in those art works.Art, to be honest, is a living legacy which expands the mind and the soul ofthose who have insight into art’s power to enlighten us of the greatness andgoodness of life of whatever era in American history it might portray. Althoughsome art subject matters may exhibit the pains and struggles of ancestors, theystill highlight the positive virtues that have made their country what it istoday, a leader among leaders in the world.

The Hawkfield Gallery is located on a picturesque scenic route in a shore town halfwaybetween Boston and Cape Cod, itself a witness to the colorful history of thenation. It is housed in an 1850's farmhouse and exactly where there used to bea tearoom, craft shop and lending library in the 1920's. The farmhouse islocated in an area beside the historic North River and was once operated as adairy farm up to the 1960’s. Visitors can take a leisurely a walk along bucolicwoodland trails which lead to a pier on the river. Or they can go beyond to oneof the numerous antique shops, galleries or historic sites in the South Shore'sPlymouth County. Now you know how rich the place is when it comes to Americanpioneer history.

Owning one art work bought from Hawkfield Gallery is, in essence,a tribute to the continuing allegiance that Americans have for their richnational heritage. And buying one right at their gallery right can certainlyadd a little more fervor to that burning flame in every patriotic Americancitizen. Nevertheless, you need not be an American to feel like one and toappreciate or own American folk art. You just need to be a lover of art.

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Looking for a career match this Valentine’s? Play the job hunting game like you do the dating one and the perfect match could be just around the corner.

Finding the right job (or the right candidate) is a lot like playing the dating game – first impressions count, and we all have things on our ‘deal-breaker’ list. Read on for our tips on how to find the perfect match this Valentine’s Day (and beyond!)…

Know what you want in a potential partner? Make a list of deal-breaker criteria when sizing up possible suitors, to ensure you don’t get carried away by the thrill of the chase.

Quick fling or long-term togetherness? – Do you want your next career move to be ‘the one’, or is forever for later?

Cast your net wider – think outside the box about what will give you job satisfaction and fulfilment. The perfect match could be in the least expected of places, or your skills could be well suited to a role you never considered before.

Be honest with yourself and them – if a job isn’t going to make you happy – be it at application stage, interview or beyond – avoid staying in the relationship for the sake of it.

Pursue happiness, not just material gain – it’s just not about making others jealous or commanding a huge salary for the sake of it. What’s truly going to make you relish getting up every morning?

Don’t judge by appearances – the best looking organisations aren’t necessarily the most wonderful work for, or might not be a good fit for you, so be sure to look beneath the surface.

Presentation is everything – first impressions count, so make sure your online profile, CV and covering letters send out the right messages. Likewise, think carefully about the signals you’re giving off at interview, with everything from what you wear to how you sit and the answers you give.

Don’t rush into things – accepting the advances of the first recruiter or business that pays you some attention is a recipe for disaster. Think things through before you take the plunge and leap in head first.

Play hard to get – you’ve aced the interview and clinched the job, so now it’s time to lay down a few ground rules. Ensure the rules of engagement are on your side when negotiating your salary and package.

Make sure there’s chemistry – having a connection and similar values are important in all relationships, personal and professional.

Remember, it’s not all about you – ask questions, listen carefully and take a genuine interest in what your match has to say. Think of it as professional flirting.

Be selective yet realistic – pickiness is essential when sourcing potential partners but remember that nobody’s perfect.

Plenty more fish in the sea – rejection can hurt but don’t let it affect your self-worth. Keep your search focused, be proactive, network and follow up all potential leads in a timely fashion and your career soul mate will come along sooner or later.

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