Every company and individual is vulnerable to fraud, mainly because criminals use different modus operandi and constantly change them to take advantage of general trends and sentiments in society.
With every step companies take to protect their assets from fraud, cybercriminals are employing even more sophisticated strategies and using disruptive technology for their own benefit.
As India grapples with the second wave of Covid, cyber criminals are working overtime to take advantage of the situation. There are already many cases of fraud involving vaccines, donations, digital payments, etc. Cyber criminals often pose as bank officials and offer a moratorium on loans for a “fee”. There were fake UPI handles (Unified Payment Interface) for the PM CARES Fund.
Here are 4 ways you should learn to protect yourself from such scams:
Don’t fall into the urgency trap
Scammers play with people’s emotions and exploit their ability to make irrational decisions under the influence of emotions. Fraudulent calls are designed to create a feeling of greater benefit at lower cost. The most common trick used today is to get people to act immediately.
For example, you might get a phone call offering them a hard-to-resist vacation offer, or asking for an advance on the very last piece of oxygen cylinder or concentrator. The urgency creates fear of losing if not acted quickly. So, carefully check the facts before making any prepayments for unknown numbers.
Watch out for phishing attacks
Be careful with phishing emails. These emails are intended to encourage one to click on the links provided in the email to review or change the account details in any way. Often times, the links in the email are used to encourage fraudsters to install malicious software on the computer or device that the device uses to access the email. This malware can be used to obtain personal information. In case of suspicion, you have to look up the domain name of the received email to check its authenticity.
As the popularity of online shopping grows year by year, so too do fraud. You don’t want to do business with unreliable websites – websites that host a variety of hackers and cybercriminals, or that sell fake products and scam users. Fake ecommerce sites advertise offers that are just too good to be true. The website is going to have an incredibly great sale that is just too good to be true.
Therefore, before you shop online and save the card information on the shopping site, make sure that the website is using secure technology. At checkout, make sure the web address starts with https: //, where the S stands for secure. More importantly, access websites by entering the url or saved bookmarks and avoid clicking links received in messages.
Do not share OTPs or personal information
It is advisable not to give out the details like debit and credit card numbers, PIN, expiration dates, CVV numbers, bank account details, OTP etc. to anyone. Memorize internet banking passwords and ATM PINs instead of writing them down or storing them on the phone. In many cases, the scammer may already have some details about a person that can be used to partially complete a transaction. Usually the last leg of a transaction is the OTP or some other detail.
The scammers insist that you share this OTP so they can complete the transaction. If someone asks you for such details, ask for an official email without giving your email address. If this is a real bank clerk, he / she should have no problem sending the email and already have your email address on their records. Fraudsters also carry out identity theft through phishing, vishing, smishing to create a false identity like the original identity to conduct fraudulent transactions. They use someone else’s personal information to withdraw funds from banks, obtain credit cards, etc. The idea is to collect details that can help them conduct fraudulent transactions.
If any information has been leaked and you are at risk, you must contact your bank immediately. Keep a close eye on the bank accounts and report anything fraudulent to the bank. The bank will freeze the cards to prevent other fraudulent transactions and issue a refund as soon as possible after doing the necessary verifications.
The author, Sujay Vasudevan, is Vice President, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions, South Asia at Mastercard. The views expressed are personal
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