Be it professional or personal, our lives have now become deeply intertwined with the Internet. We practically cannot imagine fully functioning offices without the internet. COVID-19 has just made this chemistry more intense by forcing the entire world to rely on the internet to sustain their business during lockdowns. Truly, the internet has been a savior of sorts. But with all its virtues, the internet also happens to be a sinister playground of fraudsters and hackers constantly devising evil methods to prey on their targets. One of the areas which are most prone to activities such as identity fraud and application fraud is banking. If you are one of the folks who often deal in online banking and get calls regarding loans and credit cards, here are 4 things that you need to be mindful of in order to save your identity from getting hacked.
Beware of mobile apps that harvest your data without your knowledge
Data is the new oil – no wonder then that companies are going to great lengths to capture your data (recall the recent Whatsapp controversy). A few months back, The Ministry of Information and Technology Govt. of India, imposed a ban on one of the most viral Chinese video-making apps, Tik Tok, much to the dismay of the influencers who were hoping to make a bright career out of cringe videos. Google’s app store & apple store is filled with such dangerous & fraudulent apps that possess the capability to steal your data, even your money, and cause harm to your security. Most of these apps use adware – software programmed to show you loads of ads in and outside of the app and even track you for specific ad displays. Some of these apps also come with a ‘stealth’ mode where their app icon goes incognito so that they can’t be found and deleted. Not just apps, Chinese phones, cams, and other devices too can steal our data. So, if you happen to open a banking website on an infected phone, the screenshot of the website may get sent to the malware creator. It is important that users do proper due diligence before downloading any mobile app or buying a phone.
Use encrypted chats & conferencing apps
It is imperative to work with secure tools and software that is capable of protecting your conversation, your files, and all of your data against different threats such as leaks or falsification of data, theft of passwords, computers, or hosting equipment or intrusion. Even the most popular conferencing app during the lockdown phase, Zoom calls, was found to have certain security loopholes posing a threat to confidential conversations. end-to-end encryption is not a fool-proof system and has its limitations too. Although it lets you hide the content of your message from the servers if someone gains access to the device you use to communicate, they will be able to read all of your messages, and even write and forward on your behalf!
Don’t entertain Fraudulent Phone Calls
How many times have we received a call from random numbers asking for credit cards or home loans and even motorcycle servicing? Have you ever wondered where do these people get our number from? We live in a time where we keep furnishing our numbers at shopping malls, cafes, and mobile applications, compromising the privacy of our profiles. As such, it’s easy for fraudsters to call you posing as your banking manager and get all your banking details under the pretext of a mandatory KYC procedure. It is your responsibility to first verify the caller and resist giving out important information such as your OTP or card number or passwords.
Regularly check your credit report
Keep an eye out for any discrepancies in your credit report. A credit report is an easy way to detect any activity going on in your account which you have no knowledge about. Download your report from any of the credit information companies approved by the RBI such as CRIF.