Personal Finance

Fraud-proof as you go cashless

Gurumurthy K | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 15, 2017

Here are ways to safeguard against frauds

My friend got a telephone call yesterday, saying it was from his bank. The caller rattled off the list of his recent bank transactions, including amounts and mode of transaction.

Finally, he asked for my friend’s name and ATM PIN, supposedly to take corrective action. The last part was of course a give-away and my friend cut the call. But instances of such frauds are on the rise. With many of us now forced to move into cashless transactions, how can such frauds be prevented?

Protect your identity

The most common fraud is identity theft. It includes stealing your name, card number, phone number and log-in details. Mohan Jayaraman, MD, Experian Credit Bureau, India says “According to the Experian Fraud Report 2016, identity theft is the largest contributor of fraud cases, representing 77 per cent. Credit card is a targeted product where the frauds had surged 15 per cent to 75 frauds detected per 10,000 cases from 65 per 10,000 cases”. The theft can happen by three means.

First is through a fraudulent phone call stating that it is from a financial institution and asking for your personal and account or card details.

When you get such a call, be aware not to reveal any of the details asked. Rather call back the financial institution on their official customer care number and verify. Second is by using technology, by placing card reading instruments in the swipe machine or by cloning your mobile sim card. Third category of identity theft happens from malicious softwares that get installed in your mobile or desktop through a virus.

These two instances might not be identified immediately. However, if you suspect any fraudulent transaction or in case you lose your credit or debit card, call the institution immediately and report the issue.

K V Karthik, Partner, Financial Advisory, Deloitte says “Banks have a Fraud Risk Management framework in place that is able to monitor all credit/debit card transactions. As per regulatory guidelines, banks will investigate the case when a customer reports a fraud. He/she will then be compensated in case it is not a lapse on the customer’s part. This also places the onus on the customer to ensure that they maintain confidentiality related to their personal/ banking and card related information”.

Secure your pin

When it comes to plastics — be it 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. Never have the same pin number across all the cards you hold. Also do not store the pin number explicitly in your wallet, mobile phone or email. However, to remember the pin number some methodologies can be used and it can be stored explicitly. Vikas Kumar, Co-founder LoanTap says “You can choose a mathematical model to save your password. Say if 2130 is your pin, multiply it by 3 and you can save it explicitly as 6390 in your mobile, email etc.”

Another way to stay alert is by frequently checking your transaction statements. Frequently here doesn’t mean by checking the monthly statements, but at more regular intervals within a month. Also opt for a chip and pin card where multi-level authentication can save you from possible frauds.

On the mobiles

With the emergence of numerous applications, payment wallets and UPI, we are not far away from the day when most transactions can be done from the mobile phone.

The risk factor is relatively high in this case compared to the frauds that happen in a credit or debit card. The reason is your mobile is much more easily accessible and can be stolen. Once lost, everything from the contacts to all the applications is available in the hands of the stranger. So always keep a log-in password first and foremost to activate and enter into your mobile.

Also, the smart phones these days are designed in such a way that one can read the recent messages even if the phone is locked. Change the settings to hide the recent messages. This makes the OTP invisible if the mobile phone is stolen. Never save card details or pin number in your contact list.

Next, insulate your mobile from any virus or malware attack. A desktop or a laptop is likely to have an anti-virus but when it comes to mobile phones, the chances are high that an individual may not consider it as important to install an anti-virus software. But an anti-virus is a must for mobile phone too. Also avoid accessing public wifi systems.

When it comes to mobile applications, do not have more payment wallets or UPIs just for the sake of getting freebies and discounts. Have only one payment wallet and UPI linked to the one bank account in which you transact the most. Avoid saving your credit/debit card details in any shopping portals like Amazon, Flipkart etc. Do not choose the option allowing the application to access your contact list, messages, facebook account or any of your personal information.

Also, there are many applications which are duplicate versions of the original; these should not be downloaded. But how can one identify whether an application is genuine or not. Kunal Pande – Partner, KPMG, says that “it is highly critical to download from the “playstore” in case of an android phone. The other way is by going to the official websites of the financial institutions where the genuine links of the mobile applications are available”.

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