Technology has made banking very easy: Many banking functions and financial transactions are now available to you 24X7 and at your finger tips via the mobile and Internet.
You can take care of many banking tasks without ever entering the bank. Just log in to the bank’s website to check balances, make transfers, and even deposit checks using your smartphone’s camera.
Having said that, there is a flip side of the coin as well. With all the advantages that the world of online banking offers, there are certain risks involved, which remain huge concerns for the users. The online banking system is constantly prone to attacks.
Anything you can do online, cyber-criminals or identity thieves might be able to take advantage of. They don’t need guns, masks, or getaway cars to rob you blind.
Here are some of the common online banking frauds that are prevalent –
Trojan: Trojan is an internet virus that gets installed in your computer while browsing internet or downloading from unsecured websites. Once a Trojan is installed in your system the malware monitors your online activities and reads/steals sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers etc.
Phishing Emails: As the name suggests, these are fraudulent emails, claiming to come from the authorised channel.Phishing involves installing ‘malware’ or ‘spyware’ that reads sensitive your information including your details, passwords and PINs at the point of contact on channel. This channel could be an ATM, internet banking site, mobile banking app or the payment interface on an ecommerce site.
Money mule / Additional income email scam: Money Mules are unaware victims, invariably job-seekers and those seeking to make easy-money online. They are lured by fraudsters posing as coming from companies with websites and offering them high commission to get a small job done or huge salary for a part time work from home job.
Such fraudsters will either ask you for an upfront payment as an investment, that will get you stupendous returns or offer you a commission to make transactions using your account. He will ask for your bank account details and deposit money in it and then further direct you to transfer it to accounts of other money mules on commission basis. This transferring of funds could lead you into criminal misdemeanours.
Here are 8 tips to for safe online banking:
1. Always use genuine anti-virus software
To protect your computer from phishing, malware, and other security threats always use genuine anti-virus software. Anti-virus helps in detecting and removing spyware that can steal your sensitive information.
2. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi or Use VPN software
The biggest threat of an open Wi-Fi network is that the hacker can sit in between the end user and the hotspot and can trace all the data without any difficulty. Hackers see unsecured connection as an opportunity to introduce malware into your device. So, usage of public Wi-Fi hotspots for internet or
Mobile banking and making payments on ecommerce sites should be avoided.
However if you are a regular public Wi-Fi user, consider setting up a VPN software on your computer. It creates a secure tunnel between the computer and the internet and prevents hackers from intercepting the traffic.
3. Check for latest updates of your Smartphone’s operating system
Smartphone users should make sure their operating system is updated with the latest security patches and updates. They should also not remove the security controls from the phone often called ‘jail breaking’ or
‘rooting’. They should always look to restrict access that apps ask for when being installed to only what the app really needs.
4. Change your password regularly and ensure it’s a strong one
This might sound clichéd but, it is important to keep your account safe and helps you maintain confidentiality. And needless to say, don’t share your details with anyone. Your bank will never ask for your confidential information via phone or email. If you have written your banking passwords in a notepad or a dairy, make sure it remains confidential.
Further, be sure to choose strong and long passwords. For additional security to financial transactions .
5. Subscribe for mobile notifications
If you haven’t done it already, do it now. These notifications will alert you quickly of any suspicious transaction. Whether the transaction exceeds the specified limit or is within it, you’ll get an alert which will tell you the remaining account balance. Not just the transactions, the bank will alert you of the unsuccessful login attempts to your net-banking account.
6. Avoid signing-in to your net-banking account via mailers
It is always safer to type the bank URL yourself than getting redirected to it via a promotional mail or any other third party website. As mentioned earlier a bank will never ask you to for the login credentials to your account. So if there’s a fraudulent email which offers to redirect you to your bank’s website and you enter your personal details on landing page after clicking it, there’s a huge risk of risk of your login credentials being stolen. Hence, if you receive an email from a bank asking for login details, treat it with suspicion.
7. Do not use public computers to login to net banking
If you are using a public computer, the risk of compromising your login credentials is higher. However if you have to login from such places, make sure you clear the cache and browsing history, and delete all the temporary files from the computer. Also, never allow the browser to remember your ID and password. Or just go incognito.
8. Check your account regularly
Most banks have a ‘last logged in’ or ‘login history’ tab on their web sites. So, if you notice irregularities change your password and get in touch with your bank immediately.
Some of the basic things to keep in mind while using online banking are as follows:
- Have a strong password that includes a combination of numerals, symbols, upper and lower case letters.
- Profile and login details should be different from each other and not easy to guess by others
- User ID and password should remain confidential with periodic updating as a practice
- Do not use public WIFI, insecure internet or internet at cafes, malls etc. while using internet banking
- Get your mobile number registered with the bank to get real-time alerts and updates of your bank account
- Do not share OTP/CVV or your password with anyone
- For money transfers, do not keep more than the required limits of beneficiaries
- Periodically check your transaction history and bank statements
- After completion of your task, immediately logout of the online bank portal.