Over the last nine months, digital transactions have become a large part of our daily lives. From online purchases to money transfers and card payments at retail outlets, digital transactions have been on the rise. Simultaneously, there has also been an increase in identity theft and credit fraud. According to NortonLifelock’s Cyber Safety Insights Report in April 2020, identity theft impacts four out of every 10 Indians. One irreversible outcome of this is the financial setback that victims are left to deal with.
This Diwali, as you browse through various ecommerce sites, checking out the attractive discounts and fill your carts, remember to stay alert about entering your details. Safeguard your financial information, credit card details and credit profile against any online fraudsters.
Here are a few cautionary practices to protect your online identity and avoid becoming a victim of credit fraud this Diwali:
- Beware of phishing techniques: Do not click on any suspicious links in marketing emails or messages or on social media channels. Always double-check the URL of the banking website or payment platform before making a transaction. A simple technique is to look for the lock icon and the letters ‘https:’ before proceeding with filling up any details or making a payment. Phishing emails purported by fraudsters can trick you by redirecting to a fake website too.
- Do not share any personal banking information or OTPs: Fraudsters may impersonate bank employees and ask you to share an OTP (one-time-password) for verification. Remember that banks, lenders and their authorized personnel never ask for OTPs over a phone call. If you get a phone call asking for these details, hang up immediately and report the number to your bank/lender.
- Always ensure a secure internet connection: Latching on to publicly available Wi-Fi connections can help you save up on your cellular data charges, but this can also expose your data to hackers. If you are looking to make an important time-sensitive transaction, a cellular network is a safer option. Next, ensure that your home Wi-Fi broadband connection is secure. You can do this by selecting a higher level of security — opt for Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) if available, or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). These levels are more secure than the Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) option.
- Filter the personal details you share online: Personal information such as your date of birth, AADHAR number, and bank account details, can be easily misused. Not only can they be used to avail a line of credit against your name, but the unfortunate part is that you might not even know about this until you get a call from the bank.
- Dispose of bank, finance or identity-related documents carefully: When throwing away physical copies of your PAN and AADHAR cards, bank/financial statements, credit reports or bills, ensure you shred them so that any information printed on them may not be pieced together.
- Keep a close watch on your bank, credit card and wallet statements: Register for transaction updates on your mobile phone to stay connected to your accounts. If you notice any suspicious activity, check with your financial institute, and if you have reasonable doubt to consider this a discrepancy, report it immediately. Block your card and flag this for follow-up. Fraudsters often make smaller transactions before going in for the big ones just to ascertain the victim’s attention to these details.
- Monitor your CIBIL Report regularly and flag any fraudulent activity: Checking your CIBIL Score and Report regularly is one of the best ways to monitor all your credit cards and loan accounts at once. The ‘accounts information’ section of your CIBIL Report is an overview of all the credit you have availed. Review this section and notify CIBIL in case of any accounts that you do not recognize as your own. You can also subscribe to CIBIL and avail of CIBIL Alerts to get notified of key changes in your CIBIL Score and Report. This will help you stay alert and tuned in to any suspicious activity that indicates credit fraud and identity theft.
Stay vigilant and stay safe! Happy Diwali!
>> Stay tuned to key changes in your credit profile with CIBIL Alerts, available with a Standard and Premium CIBIL subscription.