Sample this: Around 200 people have lost Rs 10 lakh to ATM fraud over the past one week in Bangalore, according to a report. Fraudsters, in fact, used advanced card skimmers to read debit and credit card data during usage, and later illegally withdrew money from the people’s accounts. Sadly, this is not a lone incident. Similar incidents have been reported from some other parts of the country as well. There have been several cases of ATM and mobile frauds in the past also, and with a surge in digital transactions via E-wallets and other online payment gateways, even mobile frauds are expected to grow massively in the near future, according to experts. So, what to do and how to keep your money safe in such circumstances?
Experts say that it is difficult to keep anyone 100 per cent safe from such frauds. However, still some precautions may be taken to reduce the chances of frauds. Here we suggest some protective measures to keep your money safe:
1) Precautions In Case Of Debit And Credit Cards:
Set an unpredictable PIN and protect it: The PIN of your credit or debit card should not be easily guessable. So, avoid using your date of birth, wedding anniversary, etc. to increase privacy. Come up with a unique combination of numbers and memorize it. “Don’t write it down anywhere except a location which you think is secure. Changing the PIN from time to time is recommended to add further security. While using your cards at ATMs or stores, make sure you are not being shoulder surfed,” says Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar.
Create a strong password: While setting your password online, remember to use a long combination of alphabets, numbers, alphanumeric and special characters with upper and lower case. Avoid using your name, surname, your spouse’s name etc. or anything easily guessable and words that are found in the dictionary to reduce predictability. You could even try misspelling words to create a strong password.
Two-factor authentication is a must: For online transactions, a two-factor authentication ensures notification on your registered phone number each time your card is in use. A one-time security password is generated and sent to your phone, which needs to be keyed in order to complete a transaction. “For PoS machines with merchants, you need to authenticate your transaction with your four-digit PIN, thus securing your transactions. This helps in preventing misuse of identity. If you receive any texts or notifications on your phone without trying to log in, you must immediately notify the bank,” says Shetty.
Swipe carefully: Watch out for scammers at ATMs and shopping outlets, as your financial information could get stolen while your card is in use at a bugged point-of-sale machine or an ATM. As the process only takes a few seconds, it often goes unnoticed by the card-holder. Make sure you use your cards at secure outlets and ATMs. The old cards which come with magnetic strip are riskier than the ones with chips, as they can be easily duplicated and used for illegal transactions. So if you are still holding on to the old ones, it’s time you switched.
Beware of malware: Considering that your electronic device is a gateway to your banking account, be careful about the items you download and install, as a mistakenly clicked malware link could potentially spy on you and steal your personal data. Before you click on any link that pops up on your device, make sure it is an authentic one. “Download items only from legitimate websites and app market places. Also, keep your operating system updated and anti-virus up-to-date to fight digital vulnerabilities. If you log on to your bank account from a public computer, try using the virtual keyboard in order to thwart keyloggers that may be installed on devices to steal keyboard inputs for logins and passwords,” says Shetty.
Beware of phishing attacks: Phishing or stealing of sensitive information through fraudulent emails or phone calls are often used to find out passwords and other account details of a customer, which are then used to make unauthorized purchases or money transfers. Avoid responding to calls and emails from unconfirmed sources to prevent leakage of personal information.
Be careful how you dispose of documents: Your old bank statements, credit card bills and insurance premium details can land in wrong hands if not disposed of the right way. It can lead to stealing of personal financial information and illegal transactions. You must shred any such documents once you are done using them to avoid identity theft.
2) Precautions In Case Of E-Wallets
Phone Safety: E-wallets turn your phone into money-carrying devices. This means that you must keep your phone in a safe place and be aware of its location at all times. “The device must have a screen lock and any other safety feature supported by its hardware, such as a thumb print recognition system. This would be an immediate deterrent to anyone who wants to unlock your phone to see its contents,” informs Shetty.
Password Strength: For all your online financial service apps for netbanking, trading, or e-wallets, you must enable a strong and complex password. This would be your second line of defense in case someone manages to unlock your phone and access your apps.
Low Balance: It is wise for you to maintain a low balance in your E-wallet. As, in case your phone gets unlocked by miscreants, they won’t have a large balance to transfer from your account.
Log Out: After using your financial apps, remember to exit them by using the logout function. This will prevent their misuse.
Check Transaction Twice: You may have a two-factor authentication while using netbanking or plastic money. However, E-wallets work as a pre-paid balance and there’s no confirmation screen or password prompts when you try to transact. Once you input the details of the payee and hit the “submit” button, the money is sent instantly. So check the payee details and the amount you’re spending twice before you release the money.
Install App Locks: Specific apps can be password-protected through app locks. These app locks are available on the designated app stores for Android and iOS.
Beware of Malware: Only install apps from designated app stores for your device. Avoid the urge to download and install applications from the web. This way, you would reduce your risk of getting a malware infection on your device which could lead to data theft.