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Unauthorised transaction on your credit, debit, bank account? 5 tricks fraudsters play; Know safe banking tips

Sunil Dhawan
paytm, Credit Card, Debit Card, Unauthorised transaction, tricks fraudsters play, tips to keep your money safe, Fraudsters, online hackers, Identity Theft, Phishing, Cloning, Smishing and Vishing

Tips to Keep Your Money Safe: Bank account holders in the country are probably witnessing the best of the times when it comes to making banking transactions. With cutting-edge technology, operating bank accounts and even making fund transfer is becoming easier than before. However, with ease of operations, the safety and security of bank accounts also need to be taken care of. While banks, on their part, keep tightening the security measures, it is up to the individual bank account holder or the e-wallet user to maintain the security of one’s account.

Fraudsters and online hackers are always on the prowl looking for some loophole in the security systems of banks or some data that can be captured from the individual users unknowingly or knowingly. There are several ways these fraudsters can breach the security and make fraudulent transactions to withdraw or transfer funds from one’s account or e-wallets. Some of the fraudulent practices include Identity Theft, Phishing, Cloning, Smishing and Vishing. In most of these unscrupulous means, at least one common thing is your mobile number. Any access to your mobile phone, whether knowingly or unknowingly, has higher chances of a financial fraud to be committed.

Here are 5 major kinds of frauds related to money and how to protect your bank accounts from them:

1. PHISHING

Phishing relates to the practice of catching fish by throwing bait into the water. In the world of banking, Phishing is a type of fraud that involves stealing personal information such as Customer ID, Internet PIN, credit or debit card number, Card expiry date, CVV number, etc. through emails and other means that appear to be from a legitimate source. Using such sensitive data, fraudsters make unauthorized transactions from the individual’s credit card, debit card or bank account.

What fraudsters do

Sometimes, phishers also use the phone (voice phishing) and SMS (Smishing) to capture such sensitive financial data from account holders, posing as officials from a bank. Most commonly, fraudsters send fake emails to account holders, asking them to urgently verify or update their account information by clicking on a link in the email. Once clicked, the link takes the individual to a fake website that appears to be almost similar to the bank’s official website. The information entered there is captured by the fraudster for his or her personal gains.

How to protect yourself from Phishing

Always verify the URL while accessing the bank or credit card website. It is extremely important to check whether there is 's' at the end of 'https://' on the URL. ‘S’ stands for 'secure' which indicates that the page is secured and is encrypted. Any fake web site will have an address starting with 'https://' and ‘s’ will be missing. This practice should be followed especially in bank websites or any site that makes you carry our financial transactions.

Next, check the Padlock symbol at the upper right or bottom corner of your browser window. Existence of Padlock ensures a security certificate for that website.

DOs

  • For logging in, it is always better to type the website address in your web browser address bar rather than clicking on any link.
  • Make sure you have updated the latest version of anti-virus, anti-spyware installed on your system with a firewall and other security patches.

DONTs

  • Do not click on any link received in your email which is appearing to be suspicious or from unknown sources.
  • Do not send across any sensitive information especially related to a bank account or card details through email or on phone, even if the email or the call is from authorities like the Income Tax Department, RBI or any other government department.
  • Do not make an attempt to make financial transactions through access net banking or credit or debit card from computers in public places including cyber cafes.

2. SMISHING

The next time you receive an SMS on your phone, tread carefully as it could be a Smishing operation. In Smishing, people receive a fraudulent SMS message on their phones with a link asking them to click on it. On clicking and visiting the fraudulent website, there is a possibility of malicious content getting downloaded on the phone. This eventually helps fraudsters to capture data from your phone.

What fraudsters do

First, you receive an SMS asking you to share card or account details as you have won prize money. You may be even asked to click on a link to visit a website and leave the information there. Details shared with the person who initiated the SMS are then used to conduct fraudulent transactions on the customer's account, causing them financial loss.

How to protect yourself from Smishing

Make it a point to never share your personal information or financial information via SMS, call or email with anyone. It’s better to delete such SMS immediately after reporting to the bank.

3. VISHING

Received a call from a bank asking for card or bank account details? Remember, banks never call to get such sensitive data and hence never share details with anyone calling for card numbers. The calls are made by fraudsters posing as bank officials. Vishing is one such attempt where fraudsters try to seek your personal information like Customer ID, Net Banking password, ATM PIN, OTP, Card expiry date, CVV etc. through a phone call.

What fraudsters do

In order to develop trust, the fraudster tells that he or she is a bank employee or a representative of the RBI. This helps them to make customers share their personal information. They create a sense of urgency citing reasons such as reactivation of account or sending a new card etc. If such details are shared, there could be fraudulent activities and transactions on the customer's account without their knowledge.

How to protect yourself from Vishing

Remember not to share any personal information like Customer ID, ATM PIN, OTP etc. over the phone, SMS or email with anyone. including those posing as bank officials. It is better to call up the customer care number of the bank which is mentioned on the reverse side of your card or on the bank website.

4. CLONING/SKIMMING

It is important to be extra vigilant while using credit and debit cards especially at ATMs or at a merchant establishment where the swiping machine is used. Fraudsters conduct frauds by cloning the card and obtaining the card details to carry unauthorised transactions. Cloning is a process of copying card details using technology or software and then transferring it to another card. The devices used to copy such card information is also called skimmers. Hence cloning is also referred to as skimming.

What fraudsters do

A skimmer is an electronic device that is attached strategically to a part of the ATM with the aim of capturing data from the debit or credit card of the user. Also, there is a memory card in the skimmer in which the data gets stored. Later on, the fraudster uses such information to make a cloned card. As one requires an ATM PIN to withdraw, there is generally a camera installed near the keypad to capture the same. Also, cloning of card could happen if a phone is handed over to untrustworthy mobile repair shops for repair.

Cloning may also lead to SIM swap in which the fraudsters manage to get a new SIM card issued against your registered mobile number through the mobile service provider. After this, they receive the OTP on this fake SIM card and start withdrawing funds from your bank account.

How to protect yourself from skimming

Run a check on the ATM machine keypad and around. Look for any hidden cameras. Never hand over your ATM card to anyone at the premises. When you find your mobile number not working for a considerable amount of time, it could mean trouble. Get in touch with the telecom operator and know the reason as it could be a fraud. Also, register for SMS and Email Alerts to stay informed about the activities in your bank account.

5. IDENTITY THEFT

Identity Theft basically refers to creating a false identity similar to the original identity with the purpose of making fraudulent transactions. When someone uses personal information of another person to withdraw funds from banks, obtain credit cards etc, it is referred to as Identity Theft.

What fraudsters do

The methods used by fraudsters in carrying out Identity Theft include Phishing, Vishing, Smishing or other means. The idea is to capture details that can help them carry fraudulent transactions.

Here's how to protect yourself

Treat your card and bank data sacrosanct. Never share with anyone in person as no bank asks for it. Try not to click on email links of any nature. Keep updating contact details as and when they change and change the passwords as well on a regular basis. Be cautious when handing over cards for swiping at any merchant establishment.