Don’t expose your bank accounts to online frauds this festive season

Published: October 24, 2019 11:27:56 AM

The rapid increase in online transactions exposes consumers to the cybercrime where data privacy could be compromised and make susceptible to frauds.

online frauds, how to avoid online frauds, festive season, cyber crime, bank accounts, credit card, debit card, RBI rules Digital transactions, according to the RBI report, is expected to increase more than four times from Rs 2,069 crore in December 2018 to Rs 8,707 crore in December 2021.

The festive season is at our doorstep and retailers, lenders and builders across the country are going all out to lure customers with attractive discounts. Year-end sales by e-commerce players are on the radar of consumers across all age groups, fuelling a spike in digital spending’s. Attractive discounts, free shipping and ease of payment options have led to an increase in digital transactions.

The total digital transactions in volume terms recorded a growth of 58.8 per cent during 2018-19, on top of a 50.4 per cent growth during 2017-18, as indicated in a Reserve Bank of India report. Digital transactions, according to the RBI report, is expected to increase more than four times from Rs 2,069 crore in December 2018 to Rs 8,707 crore in December 2021.

The rapid increase in online transactions exposes consumers to the cybercrime where data privacy could be compromised and make susceptible to frauds.

The most prevalent fraud in this domain is credit card skimming. For the layman, card skimming is a fraud when a thief steals the credit/ debit card information of a person and uses it to make fraudulent transactions or purchases. Unlike an actual thief, an online fraudster is a faceless enemy, identified only by an IP address, and thus is almost impossible to track, leave alone apprehend.

Therefore, remember to save your hard-earned money from falling prey to such frauds.

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Here is a quick checklist for every shopper, while making online transaction:

Before transaction precautions:

# The cardinal is to use a credit not a debit card for online payments. Credit cards come with better consumer protection features and payments can be disputed without any immediate debit from the account.

# Make payments only on web pages that start with ‘https:’ and not ‘http:”. The ‘s’ stands for secured socket layer and provides an extra level of encryption to your transaction.

# Thirdly, always access your bank account and make transactions from a secured network or Wi-Fi. Public spaces and open Wi-Fi connections should be avoided.

During transaction precautions:

# Ensure the system from which a transaction is made is secured with a reputed anti-virus software or has a procedure to avoid any kind of viruses or fraudulent transactions that result in online theft.

# Websites sometimes ask users if they would like to save their card details for future use. A prudent consumer would not accept such a condition as it exposes personal information to a potential hacking threat.

After transaction precautions:

# If using a shared network or system, delete all history and cookies from the device so that no passwords, numbers or any personal details are saved.

What if things go wrong?

Banks and payments partners today are spending lakhs of rupees and taking innumerable steps, deploying cutting edge technology, to ensure that user data and personal information is protected in every way possible. However, even then there is some likelihood for a smart hacker to cut through the system.

In such an event a customer should take the following steps:

# Call your bank and block the card in question immediately. This way you can notify them of any fraud in time and have a fair chance in recovering your lost amount.

# In case the fraudulent transaction has happened through net banking or any other payment apps, a written complaint should be filed with the bank along with all the necessary proofs of the transaction.

# Promptly file a police complaint with the local police station. Approaching the cyber cell is NOT mandatory in case of a cyber fraud.

# As per RBI rules, resolutions for fraudulent transactions must be done within 90 days and banks have to reverse the stolen money to the customer’s bank account.

Lastly, with advancing technology, comes the pain of keeping up with it too. Today, companies are introducing new features for their credit instruments, ranging from lucrative discounts and offers to Wi-Fi cards and NFC. While these may appeal to the deal-hunter in you, exercise caution in using these features and make sure that these sites on are 100% secured and as far away as possible from the prying eye of an internet hacker.

Happy bargains and have a safe shopping experience!

(By Rajeev Yadav, MD and CEO, Fincare Small Finance Bank)

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