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Have you been a victim of online fraud? Here are 5 safety tips to follow

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NEW DELHI: During the prolonged lockdown last year, online transactions–UPI payments, card payments, mobile banking–helped life keep going. Thousands, if not millions, were took to digital payments for the first time across the country’s diverse socio-economic segments.

However, as digital payments skyrocketed, so did payment failures and frauds, which ultimately amounted to people losing their money.

But the good thing is that online frauds can be prevented by practising these five safety tips:

1. OTP fraud

One-Time Password (OTP) has become one of the most widely used second-factor authentication step for not only digital transactions but also to log into most of online accounts. Thus, it is no surprise that most of the hacks happen when scamsters get hold of your OTP. Hence, under no circumstance should one share an OTP with a third party. OTP landing in hands of a fraudster can have much bigger consequences than just losing the transacted account since in today’s interconnected world, one can have access to your entire digital life via an SSO (Single Sign-On).

2. Social media hacks

Another thing to be wary of is an urgent money transfer request from a close friend or relative on a social media channel, be it Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or even Whatsapp.

Mayank Goyal, Founder and CEO of moneyHOP said, “The way these fraud works is that the scamster will hack into someone’s social account, conduct social engineering to understand who the person’s close relative or friend is and then request to borrow some money. Such requests will always have a sense of urgency and will most definitely come from some very close so that the request doesn’t look out of place. In these cases, we need to be vigilant enough to cross-validate such a request via a phone call or other methods. With the increasing usage of social media for interactions, this fraud is becoming quite common.”

3. Tap & Pay fraud

Goyal said, “We are seeing a lot of advancements in the field of digital payments and one of the most recent developments has been contactless payments or ‘Tap & Pay’, where one can tap a debit or credit card at the POS machine for upto Rs5,000. This payment method does not need an authentication pin. While this payment method is very convenient, it comes with its risks too. There have been instances where scamsters are present with a contactless POS machine in crowded places and rub the machine against people’s pockets in the hope of picking up a few contactless payments.”

Thus, to prevent these scams, it is important to make sure that the cards are not lying loose in our pockets and are kept in a wallet which prevents the NFC (Near Field Communication) signals from getting through. Furthermore, several banks have now come up with digital mobile applications which empower a customer to enable or disable contactless transaction by toggling a button on the application.

4. Sim swap fraud

The way this scam works is that the scamsters impersonates the victim and convinces the mobile phone provider that the victim’s mobile device is lost or stolen and gets them to port the victim’s phone number to the fraudster’s sim. Once the fraudsters get hold of the phone number, they then have access to voice calls, SMS and OTP. This in turn gives them access to the victim’s social media, email accounts, bank accounts, etc.

“One way to prevent this is to put in a request to the mobile number provider to the only enact on sim swap upon the physical visit,” said Goyal.

5. Clearing caches

Any new innovation has its pros and cons. As we move towards an increasingly digital world, our lives may become easier but we also risk cyberattacks due to an explosion in computing power. Hence, we need to be careful. This means that though it might be convenient to store our card details on google cache or our browser for ease of transaction, it can also lead to our bank accounts being wiped out in the event of our computer being hacked. Hence it is important to make sure no bank account details, or card details are stored on the browser cache.

(Do you have a personal finance query? Send in your queries at [email protected] and get them answered by industry experts)

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