The Internet has added great convenience to our day-to-day lives. We can access in-depth knowledge about any topic in the world, voice our opinions, receive and send instant messages, shop, pay our bills – all this at the click of a button on our computer screens or with the swipe of a finger on our smartphones. With people becoming aware of concepts like Internet of Things and Net Neutrality, unobstructed Internet access penetration across India is only increasing. India has 245 million Internet users and ranks third with the Internet penetration of 14% after China and US. One of the reasons for this is due to the rapid IT development in the banking system in the major cities. E-banking services accounts for a significant portion of transactions in urban areas according to a report by a global management consultancy. With this rise in usage, it becomes vital that you are aware of safe Internet banking tips and tricks to secure your bank account from banking frauds. Here is a list of most common ways you can potentially lose your hard-earned money to online scams, and how to avoid them.
Phishing is the covert attempt by a malicious person to access sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and bank account details by pretending to be a trustworthy entity. It’s mostly done by seeking personal information by sending an email from a fake email account or calling a customer pretending to be a bank executive. You can avoid this by being vigilant and not sharing any personal account details like passwords or banking codes with anyone.
Not to be confused with phishing, vishing uses Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. Fraudsters use the VoIP tool with a modem to call your registered number with your bank account in a particular region. When you answer the call, an automated message plays indicating that there has been a misuse of credit card or funds in your account, then you are told to call a specific phone number, and mostly at the other end of that call would be someone who would take down your bank details and just as they disconnect the phone, they would commit the fraud by stealing from your account. Vishing is mainly used as a psychological manipulation technique by fraudsters who can extract information from you by faking some urgent crisis, this is in order to trick you to part with your confidential account information. The way to safeguard against this is to call only the registered phone numbers stated on your bank’s official website and share your concerns. Do not share your confidential account information like card number, password etc. with any person on the phone, because bank executives will never ask customers for their personal information.
Fraudsters use skimming to copy the data stored on the magnetic stripe of your debit or credit card when you put your card in an ATM machine. They use an almost invisible device installed right in front of the card slot on the cash dispenser in order to copy the data without you being aware of this. Another way in which skimming is conducted is card tapping by creating some kind of traps in the ATM machines to make sure that your card is trapped in the card dispenser, and simply wait for you to exit the ATM machine. Once you leave they will enter and pick up the card. Stay secure from skimming by making sure the ATM machines you are using are in a safe area. Make sure there is a guard around the machine. Wherever possible opt for cashless transactions.
This happens when malicious people contact you via email informing you of a big win. The prize is generally a large sum of money in an international lottery or any other prize draw. Once you respond to the email, you are roped into paying some processing amount, which after you transfer into the account of the fraudsters, is immediately withdrawn and the sender’s email address is also disabled. A variation of this is also the job fraud where people pretending to work with a major organisation write to you with a job offer and in order to join the company they ask you to pay a certain sum of money as a token amount. The easiest way to spot this is from the tone of the email. Be cautious of emails received from email URLs such as the ones we use in our daily lives because these are free emails and an official email from a company will mostly always will be from their official email URL. Never reply to such emails which ask for confidential information related to your bank account, even if they are giving you something in return. Be cautious: The simple fact is, that if you have never bought a ticket, then you shall not be expecting a lottery win anyway, this should make you cautious as to why you are receiving this mail.
Social Engineering refers to criminals gathering personal information from social networking sites to perform fraud. They use personal information gathered from social networking sites like name, birthday, phone number or email id to contact customer's bank to gain access to their account. Customers could also become a victim of identity theft, where someone posing as them can take loans or make credit card purchases in their name. Baiting is a prevalent form of social engineering, it is in many ways similar to phishing attacks, but what distinguishes this from other types of social engineering is not fear but greed. In baiting fraudsters literally bait customers to part with their personal account information on the promise of giving them something for free. This could be anything, like free music or movie downloads links. In social engineering one never comes face to face with the perpetrator, yet they use psychological manipulation to lure you into trusting them and losing all our money. Always be cautious of the information you are giving out on your social profiles and ensure that it is visible only to people who know you personally or are people you trust.