5 effective ways to arm yourself against online frauds

Updated: Apr 07, 2020 4:36 PM

Keep your operating system, your antivirus program and official apps updated at all times, so you have the latest security patches to fend off any kind of cyber-attack.

Coronavirus outbreak, Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, Coronavirus lockdown, social distancing, online transactions, online shopping, money transfers, bill payments, cyber frauds, hacking, Cyber securityAvoiding the use of public WiFi, shopping only on known and trusted websites of merchants and entities, avoiding clicking buttons on unknown websites, intimating your bank, insurance company in case of suspicious transactions and so on.

In the current situation, there are two aspects of safety that are of paramount importance – the first one concerns your health and the second one concerns your digital safety. To contain the spread of COVID-19, it is important to practice social distancing and opt for digital payments wherever possible. India’s current payment ecosystem already supports a variety of digital modes of payments such as e-wallets, Bhim UPI, payment gateways, NEFT/IMPS/RTGS in addition to credit and debit cards.

However, as the world is currently glued to online avenues for making payments and as a source of information, it poses a great opportunity for scammers worldwide. In many parts of the world including India, scammers have already begun to misuse the panic over COVID-19 to carry out malicious activities like stealing personal and banking details.

Most leading banks integrate their existing processing systems with real-time fraud monitoring systems. However, simple precautions at consumers-end can go a long way in foiling malicious acts of cybercriminals.

Stay informed

With time, the ways of conducting scams have evolved. Usually, cybercriminals will take advantage of an existing crisis like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as the confusion arising due to changes in the regulations. Therefore, always check communication received from your banks thoroughly and connect with your bank to understand the implications of such regulatory or other changes in the industry. In India, RBI, NPCI, Mastercard & Visa take various initiatives to provide a secure framework for payments.

Be aware of Phishing

Carefully check official websites, email addresses, phone numbers and social media handles of the persons and entities you wish to deal with. In case of any suspicion, one can look up the domain name of the email received to verify its authenticity. It is advisable to treat all emails regarding the COVID-19 outbreak with caution. Recently, there was a survey doing rounds that claimed to provide a free subscription of a leading streaming channel which later turned out to be a scam.

Keep your operating system, your antivirus program and official apps updated at all times, so you have the latest security patches to fend off any kind of cyber-attack.

Conduct thorough research before believing

Attackers are taking control of coronavirus dashboards in order to increase panic. According to a report by cybersecurity firm CheckPoint Research, Coronavirus-themed domains are 50 per cent more likely to be malicious. Hence, before trusting any numbers on a particular dashboard, go through reliable and credible sources first.

Do not share OTPs or personal details

Details like debit and credit card numbers, PIN, expiry dates, CVV numbers, bank account details, OTP, etc., should never be shared with anyone. They should also not be easily accessible by anyone. Choose to memorize internet banking passwords and ATM PINs rather than writing them down or storing them on your phone. If anyone happens to ask for them, tell them to send an email from their official ID without sharing yours.

The need for strong passwords

Choose strong passwords, while making sure they are not common or predictable. Follow recommended password creation guidelines excluding your name, surname, and date of birth, while including a special character, a mix of upper and lower case, and alpha and numeric characters. According to a report, over 23 million accounts worldwide were breached simply because they had 123456 as their passwords. Also, cultivate the habit of changing your passwords frequently.

Other simple digital practices include using a trustworthy ISP and an acclaimed antivirus program, avoiding the use of public WiFi, shopping only on known and trusted websites of merchants and entities, avoiding clicking buttons on unknown websites, intimating your bank, insurance company in case of suspicious transactions and so on.

by, Mahesh Patel, Chief Technology Officer, AGS Transact Technologies

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Latest SBI ATM Cash Withdrawal over Rs 10,000 with mobile OTP facility: How it works
2Home loan rates at historic low in 15 years, utilize opportunity before it gets too late: Bullmen Realty
3Health Insurance: Why you should go for OPD health cover