As online scams become more prevalent, what are the ways to keep your money safe and secure?

Incidents similar to those of Jamtara, an unsuspecting consumer receiving a call from a decoy official convincing him to share his account details and OTP, are now out of fashion.

Fraud incidents are not only growing in number, but are also seen in different varieties and forms.

For example, the Vadodara police recently received complaints about online banking fraud in which victims lost thousands of rupees. The act was perpetrated by scammers by adding beneficiaries to the victims’ bank accounts. And the account holders overlooked the inadvertent additions.

What is surprising and scary 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 are deployed to siphon money from victims. One common way is to convince them to scan a QR code to ‘receive’ money.

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

Here we list a number of points that users need to keep in mind to keep scammers at bay.

Take note of these points to keep scammers at bay:

1. Please do not scan the QR code to receive payment.

2 Do not download unverified app: You should not download an unverified app to avoid giving remote access to your device. This can be misused by scammers to steal money via UPI.

3. Beware of suspicious SMS; Some hackers send illegitimate payment links via SMS. This link can take you to the UPI payment app on your phone. This will ask you to select any of the applications for automatic debit. After giving permission, the amount will be instantly deducted from your account.

4. Drive with legitimate-sounding names – Some hackers may even use names like BHIM or SBI on their UPI social page, giving the impression that it is a credible UPI platform.

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

6. You can even explore the idea of ​​buying cyber insurance to minimize your losses in case you are the victim of an adverse incident.

To minimize or eliminate the occurrence of financial frauds, it is important for consumers to be aware, and a safe and strong ecosystem is also needed, says Sugandh Saxena, CEO of FACE (Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment).

“Customer awareness is certainly vital to avoiding fraud, but so is a stronger and safer ecosystem. For example, while customers should be careful when downloading the right lending apps, the app ecosystem must ensure that illegal lending apps, false partnerships with regulated entities, and harmful customers are not easily found in app stores. There needs to be a robust process to scan apps for dubious credentials and remove them from app stores, and this requires coordination among industry stakeholders,” added Ms. Saxena.

“Users need to remain very vigilant against fraud. There is a lot of public information available and users need to continually educate themselves. Users should be careful when sharing their data and documents, including KYC. They should check loan applications for their association with REs, privacy policy, downloads, review and rating, and complaint resolution mechanism. Just as we check and compare all the things we buy, users should spend time and effort to only borrow from apps that are provided through partnerships with regulated entities,” she adds.

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

First post: January 18, 2023, 08:03 am IS

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