Online Banking: How to dodge fraudsters when making financial transactions | The Financial Express

Online Banking: How to dodge fraudsters when making financial transactions

One of the major mistakes that even savvy people make while doing online banking is not clearing their browsing history. Read on to know why it is important.

Online banking | Internet Banking | online banking fraud | banking scams
Fraudsters can create duplicate phishing websites which may look like legitimate bank sites. (Representational Picture)

India is on its way to becoming completely cashless. Digital modes of payment have become so common that people rarely carry cash with them. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many users shifted to online banking to make safe and easy financial transactions. And although the system of online banking is quick, it also exposes one to a plethora of scams. Fraudsters take the opportunity of finding gaps in the system and use those opportunities to dupe the banks’ customers. Here we are to help you avoid such frauds and make better decisions the next time you try online banking.

How to identify scams before they happen?

Be wary of duplicate websites. It is always better to download your bank’s official app for depositing money or making transactions. Fraudsters can create duplicate phishing websites which may look like legitimate bank sites. Many customers without checking the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) click on these sites and leave their personal details like OTP, PIN, password and so on. It is always better to double-check the site’s legitimacy before you decide to login.

All of us have at least once got a call from a random person claiming to be from the bank which has our account. They may trick you into sharing your credentials like CVVs and pressure you into depositing money. To avoid being in a situation like this, it is best to start asking the person on the phone for details. It is easier for them to give up on the conversation once they see counter questions coming their way.

RBI has repeatedly asked customers to be on alert regarding the SMS and emails they get. Sometimes these messages appear to be straight from the bank and they make you download links to unverified apps on your mobile or laptop. Once it is downloaded, the fraudsters can get complete access to your device. They may also ask you to share your screen with them via an app which will lead to them gaining control over your mobile/laptop.

The best way to avoid putting yourself in such a situation is to know that legitimate banks will never make such calls or requests. They would not randomly ask you to make payments or ask for OTPs or your CVV. It is best to dodge these calls with counter questioning or simply disconnecting. If you are still unsure, you can always call or visit the bank and check for yourself.

List of Do’s and Don’ts for online banking

You can start by locking your device and banking app with a password. The password could be your finger touch or a complicated one using symbols. This way no one would be able to access your device without your permission. It is advisable to keep changing your passwords from time to time.

Many of us just close our tabs once we have made a transaction via banking apps. This is a strict no. Always log out from the app before you close the tab. Never close the window without logging out from the digital banking app.

It is hard but avoid using internet banking on unsecure wi-fi networks in public places like railway stations and airports. It just exposes your device to malicious eyes and softwares.

Never access a bank site through a third-party link or email. Always check the domain name before you log in with your personal credentials.

Another step is to install security programmes to guard your device or banking app. There are many such programmes available on play store. This will be beneficial in keeping hackers away from your system.  

Never save your internet banking passwords on your device. Either memorise these passwords or note them down somewhere. This will avoid the panic which follows once your mobile/laptop is stolen.

Another important step is to always lock your device. In case it gets stolen, make sure you call your bank right then and there. This will help in preventing unauthorised use of your device which has your internet banking apps.

Always keep a keen eye on the number of transactions you make through online banking. It may help you in registering unauthorised transactions in the future. If you do find such transactions, immediately contact your bank and report the issue.

It is important that customers follow these dos and don’ts to avoid online banking fraud. After all, it is an individual’s responsibility to protect their finances while enjoying the ease and perks of digital banking.  

Mistakes that even tech-savvy people commit while making online transactions

One of the major mistakes that even savvy people make while doing online banking is not clearing their browsing history. Here’s why it is important. Suppose you don’t have any passwords saved in your phone and you have locked all your apps, but one day, your phone is not working. So what do you do? You send it for repair or maintenance without clearing your browsing history. Sometimes your bank account number and other sensitive information is there in your browser. To avoid this, it is always important to clear the cache and delete temporary files before submitting your device for repair work.

Also, this might look simple and casual but never use on-screen keyboards while doing internet banking. It is easier for a scammer to look at your password and use it further to make you financially poor.

There are many who also save their card details while ordering food or other items. Your card is for your personal use. It might be tedious but if you end up making payments via debit card, it is advisable to always re-enter the details each time you choose this option, rather than saving the card details. Also, never keep your banking apps open if you hand over your phone or laptop to someone else.

And lastly, assuming the worst about online banking is the least beneficial thing you can do to yourself. Online banking frauds might look scary but the truth is that legitimate banks spend a lot of money in pumping their online security and keeping their firewalls unbreakable. The big banks are at greater risk because they are constantly in the eye of hackers but the measures they take regarding security features, accordingly make them a safe option. 

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First published on: 02-02-2023 at 16:26 IST