Fraud is a global multimillion dollar syndicate trying to outsmart the formal system. Hence it is important for us to stay ahead of the game and keep a few things in mind while making payments online.
The digital payments market has changed greatly since November 2016. Recent policy initiatives empowered people with debit cards and a number of plans were put in place to include those who were not a part of the banking system. With the growth in market opportunities also came a new set of customers who were new to digital payments. And with new customers comes the increased risk of payment fraud.
A transaction requires two things to be completed – what you have and what you know. ‘What you have’ is a debit/credit card or card details, internet banking credentials etc. and ‘what you know’ is what only you should know, like password, OTP, PIN, CVV, 3D secure PIN etc. If a fraudster gets hold of both pieces of information, he can easily defraud the customer. Fraud is no longer about the pickpocket who uses your credit card for large purchases before you block it. Fraud is a global multimillion dollar syndicate trying to outsmart the formal system. Hence it is important that as consumers and service providers, we stay ahead of the game. For consumers who pay online, one should keep a few things in mind:
1. Never share confidential data: There is a reason why certain information is ‘confidential’. Always remember that no bank executive or service provider will ask for details like PIN, OTP or CVV. If you are trying to pay online and receive a call saying that the caller will help complete the transaction with your PIN or OTP, it is a fraudulent call.
2. Use robust passwords: A complicated password makes it difficult for a fraudster to access your information. Email, net banking and other important passwords should include capital letters, special characters and numbers to make them stronger. One should also change these passwords often.
3. Check the authenticity: When you visit a website to transact, check that there are no misspellings in the address, even if the .com is now .org. You may receive a message from something like www.offeratamazon.com, which is not Amazon but poses as a genuine website. Know the difference.
4. See for security: Check for a HTTPS ahead of the web address, i.e. https://www.worldline.com, or a lock icon, certifying that the website is SSL secured. Security certifications are also mentioned on the bottom of the home page.
5. Give only necessary information: A website may ask you for many details, even birthday and mother’s maiden name. Fill in only what is marked as necessary because the more information you share, the easier it is for a fraudster to target you.
6. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks: Public Wi-Fi networks are now targeted by fraudsters to pull customer information. Unless necessary, try avoiding public Wi-Fi connections. Today, scamsters are not sparing a chance to even drain mobile batteries by juice jacking; data is even easier to steal. Similarly, avoid using public desktops as your information may not be secure.
7. Invest in an anti-virus for your mobile phone: We may have an anti-virus for our laptops out of habit, but are our mobile phones secure? Today, a large part of content consumption, shopping and payments happen through mobile phones, making it important to have a robust anti-virus for our phones as well.
8. Keep a track of your financial statements: If you use the Internet regularly to pay bills or shop online, keep track of your expenses through the bank or card statement. If there are suspicious transactions that you may not have initiated, inform your bank/card issuer immediately.
9. All that glitters is not gold: Sale season and festival time is when unsuspecting novice customers are out looking for a bargain and become easy prey for fraudsters. If the offer looks too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Stay away from it.
10. Trust your instincts: As fraudsters become smarter and try to beat all the safeguards service providers put in place, it is most important that you trust your instincts. In spite of multiple checks, if you feel there is something wrong with the website, it is better to avoid making a payment than risking getting duped.
(By Vishal Maru, Head-Merchant Services, Digital Payments and Loyalty, Worldline South Asia and Middle East)