Cyberspace is a lot more dangerous than the streets of your neighbourhood. Be extra cautious, especially while doing financial transactions
The issue of online fraud is becoming bigger every day. Every other day, there are reports of someone being duped through fraudulent online transactions or by a tele-caller. The latest theme used by fraudsters is asking for a one-time password (OTP), under the pretext of verification, increase in credit limit or loan sanction. Since financial literacy levels is low in India, several people—including many highly educated ones—easily fall into such traps, and then cry foul. Once you lose your money, it will be difficult to get it back. The only thing you can do is to be extra cautious, especially while using your debit/credit card and when using mobile/Internet banking. Also, opt for transaction alert service via SMS (short message service), which is now a paid service, from your bank. The small amount (Rs15 per quarter) can save thousands of rupees later. Here are some tips to follow...
OTPs: When you are using financial services for online transactions, the server, depending upon its configuration to use specified algorithms, generates a one-time password, or OTP, and then sends it to the user either to her registered mobile handset or through email. The transaction is authenticated by using the OTP which means you can successfully make payment or transfer money online.
Precaution: Never share your OTP with anyone. If you receive an OTP for a transaction that was not initiated by you, then immediately contact the bank or card issuer. Be extra careful not to share the OTP, especially over a phone call. It may be a fraudster who has initiated the transaction and would be seeking the OTP from you to complete it. In case you receive such a call asking for OTP, then it is time for you to immediately change your password for that account.
CVV/PINs: Card verification value (CVV) is used in situations where personal identification number (PIN) cannot be used. The CVV is printed on the reverse of a credit or debit card. For such transactions, like at an ATM or point of sales (POS) terminal (shop), the customer is required to enter the PIN to validate the transaction. However, despite instructions by banks, people are found sharing PINs with near and dear ones. Some even write it on a paper and keep it along with the card or share it with restaurant waiters while paying their bills. No wonder, a thief would have a ball, if he lays his hands on it.
Precaution: Never ever share your CVV or PIN with anyone either in person or over phone calls. In addition, do not write the PIN anywhere. When you receive a PIN for your credit or debit card, the first thing you need to do is to visit an ATM of the card issuer and change the PIN. And remember not to use your (or your spouse’s or kid's) date of birth, consecutive (1234...) or identical (1111) numbers.
Passwords: For general sites, which do not affect you personally or financially, use simple, memorable phrases, to create passwords. Reserve your strongest, most distinct passwords for critical services—like your bank account, your computer, personal e-mail and social media sites.
Precautions: Never share your passwords with anyone. Create passwords using memorable phrases; mix it with numbers, special characters. Never use a word from a dictionary, either as base or password. Feel free to mix languages. For financial transactions, I would suggest a password with a length of at least 13 characters.
What To Do if Duped?
The first thing you need to do is to contact your bank or card issuer. File a complaint either through email or in writing. Change the password or PIN. Keep all your correspondence with the service-provider in a secure place. Follow it up regularly until your issue is resolved. If required, you can seek help from Moneylife Foundation’s Free Credit Helpline
where retired bankers provide guidance on the exact steps that need to be taken to resolve the issue.