Internet and IT related frauds have increased several folds over the past decade. Many cases of frauds of sophisticated nature are coming to light of late. One is surprised to observe the ingenuity of these fraudsters who come out with innovative methods for duping unsuspecting people. All that one needs to be cautioned is to stay extra vigilant, especially in regard to parting of personal and financial information to strangers – over the phone, email or otherwise.
Many financial frauds are debit/credit card-related where the fraudster try to obtain personal information and confidential data, and misuse them to defraud account holder. In one instance, a person found to his surprise that his bank-balance got depleted over a period of one week through certain online transactions which he was not aware of. On investigation, it was observed that the fraudster acquired the card number and the relative PIN from the account holder himself. He called the account holder posing to be the Bank representative and on the pretext of card ‘verification’ took down the card number and the PIN. The SIM card of the account holder was blocked to ensure that the debit alerts are not received by the victim.
An oft repeated and common method is the ‘Nigerian Fraud’ in which bulk SMSs are sent to people in India. The recipient is ‘informed’ that he got huge amount of lottery of some reputed company, and asking him to mail his details for claiming lottery amount. After engaging the unsuspecting victim, the fraudster would go on extracting money under various pretext, like customs fee, income-tax clearance fee, foreign exchange conversion charges, etc. till the victim gets suspicious or unable to pay anymore. And then the fraudster would simply stop responding.
There have also been instances of fraudulent emails purported to be from Bank to collect sensible personal and financial data, and misusing them to perpetrate frauds subsequently. Interestingly, there are also cases where the fraudster pretending to be calling from a reputed Insurance company informed the insured person that his policy had expired, and that for renewing it he would demand money. In not so distant past, a gang developed expertise in offering fake loan, insurance, tour-package, etc. – all in the name of leading private companies, and then demanding money. There does not seem to be any dearth of tricks to dupe people. It is here that one needs to be extra vigilant.
The first step is to install latest security software on your computer, and ensure that all the software are auto-updated. While doing online transaction or entering confidential data, do look for encryption signs like SSL certificate (url address starting with https:) and a sign of a closed pad-lock located in the right corner of the screen. Further, one needs to have different passwords for different banks. An account holder should not disclose – under any circumstances – over the mails or phone or otherwise, his card details, PINS and the password. No bank would seek such information through mails/sms. Last but not the least, he should avoid using public computers for online transactions. These are the bare minimum precautions one should take without fail.
Compiler : Syed Zafar Ahmad
Designation: Executive Editor & Compilor
Bio: A freelancer with a flair for experimenting with innovative technology and electronic gadgets that could enrich the life of a modern common man, and a consultant in issues touching every-day life of a computer suave professional.
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