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Avoid Money Transfer Scams – Dos and Don’ts

The internet penetration rate in India is increasing at an alarming rate. It was around 47 percent in 2021. According to a report in 2020, over 749 million people use internet across the country. When the number of users is this high and the internet penetration rate has been increasing rapidly, the chances of cybercrime also go up.

The internet has its pros and cons. It is a powerful tool connecting people, advancing technology, and literally transforming the world. Although, it is also one of the most used tools to commit fraud, promote fake schemes, and put together, both small and big cyberattacks.

It doesn’t matter what payment mode you are using – mobile wallet, UPI, net banking, credit/debit cards, etc., there’s always a chance of scams and frauds if you are not careful.

Types of money scams

The main objective of most of these scams or fraud schemes is to steal your money and wipe out your bank account. Even though, the banking institutions make use of extremely sophisticated security systems to protect your bank accounts and sensitive information, there’s always a chance of a cyberattack using a small loophole. You can be that loophole.

It is good to understand the nature of these scams to avoid them.

  • Phishing and Email scams
  • Identity Theft
  • Online fake shopping scams
  • Tax related scams
  • Lottery Fraud

The intent of most of these scams is to get your personal info like bank account details, bank PIN, CVV, etc. This info is used by the scammers or fraudsters to easily wipe out your bank account. One of the most common ways used by these scammers is email. You can receive an email from scammers posing as a reputed company. The email will generally carry a link you will be directed to click. If you click on the link, you will be taken to a new fake website where you will be prompted to enter your personal details.

Lottery Fraud is also one of the most common frauds in India. The scammers send an SMS or an email to you saying you have won a lottery of XX (mostly a big amount to attract attention) in some contest. You will be again asked to click on a link. This is again a way to get your bank details.

Many fraudsters also set up online shopping portals on social media or other online spaces to scam people. You will be asked to make a full or partial payment for a product chosen. You will either be delivered a fake product or nothing at all. Such portals don’t have any refund policy in place and no customer support.

Similarly, the scammers are becoming more advanced and are finding new ways to scam you. Therefore, you need to be careful with your personal data.

Tips to avoid a scam and how to identify a scammer

Get a strong password

The most fundamental way to protect your data is to set a strong password with at least 8 characters in upper and lower case with a mix of numbers and special characters. Don’t keep your birthday or personal numbers or things as your password. Make sure it is a random combination.

Avoid suspicious web links

Do not click on any links which you receive from a suspicious sender on mail. Look at the mail ID used carefully. Usually, there’s a typo error or the mail won’t be an official one. This will help you to avoid clicking on random links.

Do not respond to lottery winning messages

Never ever respond to a lottery win mail or SMS. It is usually a scam. Unless you yourself have enrolled for a program, don’t respond to the same. In that case also, check with the concerned POC first.

Beware online

Be very careful where you enter your banking details when shopping or paying for goods or services online. Do a small background check and see if the website is actually authentic or not. You can verify a website by checking if the web address begins with ‘https’ and has a tiny padlock symbol on the page. The tiny padlock means that the website you are visiting is secure and has a digital certificate. The digital certificate indicates to the fact that no one can access or read the information shared between you and the browser. Hence, your personal details are safe.

Enable 2FA

Always switch on 2FA on your phone or for your online transactions. 2FA refers to 2 Factor Authentication which refers to a system where every online transaction request is followed by a confirmation SMS or dialog box for initiation of the transaction. Most of the social media and BHIM UPI payment apps have this feature. The Airtel Thanks app has 3FA feature named ‘SafePay.’ You can activate this level of security on the app.

Be it a bill pay scam or a fake UPI payment scam, with these pointers in mind you know how to identify a scammer and how to avoid money related scams. Just be careful and alert, your money will be safe with you.