Online Frauds: Types & Methods to Prevent Them
It is no question that India is still a relative newcomer to the world of online banking, with an unforeseen spike in digital payments felt soon after the phase of demonetisation. Adding to the digital wave with the pandemic following soon after, and forcing people towards making online payments, our country is revolutionising our banking habits and paving a path to a digital India. But in the haste of digitalising our banking, a lot of us have seemingly neglected the risks involved in online payments and the security concerns we should look after. Ensuring your knowledge on these frauds should be a top priority to protect your financial assets and secure your bank balance from being stolen by a third party.
Types of Online Frauds
Some of the major online frauds in India reported on a daily basis are: -
- Phishing: - Often termed as one of the most common and deadly cyber-attacks in India, phishing refers to an attacker collecting your personal details through websites or emails that seem legitimate but are actually faked to coerce you into providing your private log in details or personal data that the attacker can then use to gain access into your banking accounts.
- Smishing: - This fraud includes the scammer appearing as a reputable company and sending fake text messages to your phone for the purpose of inducing you to reveal bank account details, passwords, or any other personal information which the scammer can later misuse to steal your money.
- Virus and spyware hosts: - These are apps or websites that look legitimate but are coded to inject viruses or malware in your smart device that can record your keystrokes or gain access to your banking apps, ultimately resulting in heavy financial losses. These apps include real looking interfaces to trick users into giving out their personal information.
- ATM card misuse: - Scammers often install fake card scanners at ATMs to steal your credit or debit card details and make fraudulent transactions in your name from your bank account.
- SIM swap attack: - The scammer can trick you into issuing a sim card in their name that will give them access to your phone numbers and with it, your banking OTPs and UPI accounts. You can avoid these attacks by safeguarding your personal information that the scammer might misuse to buy a SIM card in your name.
- UPI fraud: - These frauds consist of the scammers using fake UPI apps or IDs to coerce you into revealing your UPI details or make a fraudulent transaction in their account. Scammers can also steal your OTP or UPI PIN to carry out this scam, which is why you should never share your UPI PIN or OTP to anyone.
- Fake customer care numbers: - These are mostly cold calls received on your phone that convey schemes or a problem with your account, and mislead you into giving out your private details. Another way is for the scammers to post their own number and market it as a customer care number of a reputable company to make you believe you are actually talking to their representative and thus scamming you out of your personal financial details.
- False social media handles: - These are real looking social media accounts that might message you asking for personal details or offering a fake prize or scheme that might ultimately lead to huge financial losses. Be wary of unverified social media handles that might seem real but are actually running a front for a scam.
Measures provided by RBI to protect you from online frauds
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) identified these potential problems in our developing online banking services and have recently come up with a two-prong approach in lieu of protecting its citizens from falling prey to online frauds and scams. The first part includes creating awareness about the various online scams rampant in our country today, and the second part is to install intricate defences within banks to detect and avoid these scams from happening in the first place. They have also developed a myriad of measures that protect you in case a fraudulent transaction does take place from your account as long as you report them before the specified deadline.
Where and how to report online frauds in India
- If you notice an unauthorised transaction made through your bank account, contact your bank immediately.
- You should also contact the National Cyber Crime unit by calling their helpline 155260 to file a fraudulent case with the cybercrime branch. You can also use their portal to share your knowledge about the scam by logging on to their website and reporting cybercrime online.
- RBI ensures that reporting a fraudulent transaction within three working days offers zero customer liability, i.e., you will not be held responsible for the fraudulent transaction if you report it within 3 days. This will result in the bank being liable to reimburse you the amount you lost due to the fraudulent transaction, given that it falls under their terms and conditions.
- Reporting the transaction after 4 to 7 days will result in you being liable to pay the transaction amount or anywhere from Rs 5,000 to 25,000 depending on the type of your account.
- In case of reporting a disputed transaction, the burden of gathering proof falls on your bank, where the bank either has to prove you acted fraudulently or credit back the disputed transaction amount back into your account in 30 days.
Tips & Tricks to protect yourself from online frauds
These malicious activities happen a lot more often than you might think, with thousands of people falling prey to these online frauds in India on a daily basis. To ensure that you handle your online transactions in a secure and reliable manner, here are some tips and tricks to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators: -
Knowing the scams: - The most important defence against online banking scams is to always stay updated on them, understand how different types of online frauds work and take precautions to always be on top of emerging attacks.
- Changing your passwords and PINS regularly: - Periodically changing your PINs and passwords is one of the most effective ways to secure your banking details, as even if somehow an attacker gains access to your login details, they will be rendered outdated. Also, make sure not to share OTPs, passwords and PINs with anyone.
- Check authenticity of websites and apps: - Some websites and apps might look authentic, but are actually a faked replica of a popular website or application, made by scammers to coerce you into sharing your personal data through their own UI. Checking the authenticity of the apps and websites you access on a daily basis can ensure that your personal data isn’t falsely provided to a scammer.
- Keeping track of your account activity: - Keeping a close eye on your banking records and daily transactions can help you to timely report any discrepancies to your bank and stop a major financial loss from taking place.
- Use security software: - Using a security app on your phone or PC will exponentially decrease your chances of being exposed to fraud attempts, a trojan horse or malware that can jeopardize your personal financial details. Using an online fraud protection app like FinLock ensures that you are always a step ahead from your scammers and are protected from the majority of online frauds.
- Avoid using public wifi: - Public Wi-Fi are open Wi-Fi hotspots that are seemingly free to use by everybody within its range in restaurants or cafes, but can carry a hefty price tag under the wrong hands. Hackers and scammers regularly use these password free hotspots to steal personal information from your connected devices including the websites you browse or even financial details stored on your phone.
- Cyber Insurance: - This is a specialty lines insurance product that is focused on protecting both individuals or companies from internet based risks including privacy infringements or even financial losses occurred through cyber attacks. With the sudden rise in cyber attacks in recent times, many national insurance agencies have started offering cyber insurance plans to safeguard people in case of falling for online fraud.
With online frauds like these affecting hundreds of people on a daily basis, securing yourself from cyber attacks is of paramount importance, and can defend you from divulging your personal information or your hard-earned financials from falling into the hands of a scammer. The online frauds discussed above showcase the sheer plethora of options a scammer has in gaining access to your personal device and stealing your information easily. This is why investing in a software that can defend you from the evils of cyberspace is an important step in securing your online data while scouring the wonders of the internet without worrying about people taking advantage of your cadence. Securing yourself with Finlock is thus the best way to ensure a stress-free online experience!