As online frauds get prevalent, what are the ways to keep your money safe & secure?

The Jamtara-like incidents — an unsuspecting consumer getting a call from a decoy official who convinces him to share his account details as well as the OTP — are passé now.

The incidents of fraud are not only growing in number, but are seen in different varieties and forms as well.

For instance, Vadodara police recently received complaints about the net banking frauds where victims lost lakhs of rupees. The act was perpetrated by fraudsters by adding beneficiaries to the victims’ bank accounts. And the account holders happened to overlook the inadvertent additions.

What is surprising, and frightening at the same time, is that no OTP was sent to the users when the beneficiary was added to their bank accounts.

This is just one way to fleece account holders of their money. There are a number of other ways these hackers deploy to siphon off the victims’ money. One common way is to convince them to scan a QR code in order to ‘receive’ money.

However, users must be aware that a QR code is scanned when someone wants to make a payment and not to receive it.

Here we list out a number of points which users should make note to keep the fraudsters at bay.

Make note of these points to avoid fraudsters at bay:
 

1. Don’t scan QR code for receiving the payment.

2 Don’t download unverified app: You should not download an unverified app, to avoid giving remote access to your device. This can be misused by fraudsters to steal money through UPI.

3. Beware of suspecting SMSes; Some hackers send illegitimate payment links via SMS. This link can take you to the UPI payment app on your phone. This would prompt you to select any of the apps for auto debit. After giving the permission, the amount would instantly get deducted from your account.

4. Handles with legitimate-sounding names: Some hackers can even use names such as BHIM or SBI on their UPI social page, giving an impression that it’s a credible UPI platform.

5. Never share your OTP: Regardless of warnings issued by the banking regulator, some fraudsters manage to convince the customers to share OTPs received on their phones. After it is shared, the fraudsters can authenticate illegitimate transaction and steal the money.

6. You can even explore the idea of buying a cyber insurance to minimise your losses in case you fall prey to any untoward incident.

To minimise or eliminate the occurrence of financial frauds, it is important that consumers are aware, and a safe and strong ecosystem is also need of the hour, says Sugandh Saxena, CEO of FACE (Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment).

“Customer awareness is certainly vital in avoiding fraud, but so is a safer and stronger ecosystem. For example, while customers must be careful in downloading right lending apps, app ecosystem needs to ensure that illegal lending apps, faking partnerships with regulated entities, and harming customers do not easily come on the app stores. There must be a robust process to scrutinise apps for dubious credentials and remove them from the app stores, and this needs coordination across industry stakeholders,” added Ms Saxena.

“Users must stay highly vigilant against fraud. There is much public information available, and users must educate themselves continuously. Users must be careful in sharing their data and documents, including KYC. They must verify lending apps for their partnership with REs, privacy policy, downloads, review and rating, and grievance redressal mechanism. Just as we check and compare all things we buy, users must take time and effort to take loans only from apps lending through partnerships with regulated entities,” she adds.

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If you report your fraud within 3-7 days, you may not get your entire amount back.

First Published: 18 Jan 2023, 08:03 AM IST

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