06 Aug 2017 15:49 IST

Be safe in cyberspace

The number of frauds in the digtal space is increasing

As more people take increasingly to digital payment modes, the number of frauds in this space is also increasing.

Net banking and cards

Identity theft is the most prevalent fraud. This means stealing your card or net-banking credentials, which can happen in three ways.

First is through fraudulent calls. Do not share any personal details or anything pertaining to your account and cards with anyone as the banks with which you deal will have all your details in their database.

Second is by placing card reading instruments in the swipe machine. It is always better to use credit card with lower credit limit so that even if your credentials are stolen, the risk is limited.

Third is through malware attacks on your computer, which is used for net-banking. It is always best to have the latest updated version of an anti-virus installed in your computer.

Also, make sure that you are not using a wrong or a duplicate website of the financial institution. Radha Rama Dorai, Country Head – ATM & Allied Services, FIS, cautions, “Avoid clicking on links from e-mails or from any website to access a bank or any financial institution. Instead, type the website address manually every time. Ensure you have a good antivirus solution. They can distinguish between safe and fraudulent website.”

When it comes to a debit or credit card, protecting your credentials, especially the pin number, is the key. Do not share it with anybody, be it your friend or even your family member. Always have a complicated pin and change it frequently.

Mobile security

A smartphone has, today, become the base instrument if you want to use a wallet, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) or mobile banking. So, adding security features to your mobile phone is an imperative.

The foremost challenge is keeping your mobile safe. Once it is stolen, everything — from your contacts to all the applications in the device — becomes available to the fraudster. So, always have a log-in password to activate your mobile. Many smartphones today come with a biometric feature, which is the best safety method.

Never save your credit or debit card details or pin number in your mobile phone. But if have to do it, some methodologies can be used. Vikas Kumar, Co-founder, LoanTap, says, “You can choose a mathematical model to save your password. If, say, 2130 is your pin, multiply it by 3 and you can save it as 6390 in your mobile, email, etc. Just remember the multiplying factor 3 so that you can retrieve the password whenever you require it.”

The next important factor is keeping your mobile phone insulated from any virus or malware attack. Many do not have an anti-virus in the mobile phone since it slows down the device. But it is mandatory to have a malware protection installed in the phone. Avoid accessing public Wi-Fi systems.

Do not save your credit/debit card details in any shopping portals like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. Do not let the portal access your contact list, messages, Facebook account or any of your personal information.

Always have the genuine applications installed in your mobile phone. Kunal Pande, Partner, IT Advisory, KPMG in India, stresses that, “it is highly advisable to download applications from the links provided in the bank’s website or from “Google Play store” or an “App Store”.

Many mobile banking applications like ICICI Bank’s iMobile app give you the option to block your card directly. “A few banks in India allow their customers to set limits, block certain features in their credit and debit cards through their mobile/net banking application. So, when you are travelling abroad or even when you go to sleep, you can block international usage or set transaction limits on your card, and unblock/reset whenever you need it,” explains Kunal.

Always use the credit card with lower limit in e-commerce portals.

Restrict the number of applications to the ones that you actually need. “If you have only one wallet the amount of theft could be limited to the money you have in that, whereas the quantum of money lost could be more if you have too many wallets,” points out Vikas.

Report a fraudulent transaction without delay. “Quick reporting by customers could fetch them maximum benefit from the prevailing mechanism. The SMS alert facility that banks offer today is a strong tool to identify frauds and can help people to report immediately,” says Kunal.

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)