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    Do’s and don’ts for secure online transactions

    Do’s and don’ts for secure online transactions

    Do’s and don’ts for secure online transactions
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    By CNBCTV18.com Contributor  IST (Updated)

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    Over the past few months, everything is migrating to the online space at an astounding rate and several new users have also been added to the digital ecosystem.

    Authored by Niranjan Upadhye
    Coronavirus pandemic has certainly caused disruptions for individuals, corporations, and societies alike. To contain the spread of the virus, strategic unlocks are now being introduced in phases. However, it affected movement of people initially and hence most of us resorted to online means for ordering essentials items. This behaviour continued even after relaxations were introduced and instead of stepping out of the safety walls of our house, most of us now prefer to order pharmacies, daily essentials, clothing, fashion and even leisure items or activities online in addition to essential goods.
    Over the past few months, everything is migrating to the online space at an astounding rate and several new users have also been added to the digital ecosystem, including local merchants who are aggressively taking their businesses online. Interestingly, the number is only growing but the not-so-good part about this digital drive is the cases related to online frauds. Fraudsters have become hyperactive, and are using innovative as well as traditional means to commit fraud and cheat us.
    You will be surprised to know that even today people are being duped via phone calls, SMSes, e-mails from fake brands or e-commerce websites offering unbelievable discounts on expensive electronic items, consumer durables or off-late, liquor.
    Also, there is a possibility that our screen time have increased as education, work meetings, entertainment, dating apps, games etc. are now being extensively used though devices like mobile, computers, laptops like never before. Perhaps out of boredom, people are also befriending strangers on social media and ultimately getting conned. Innocent or vulnerable users get convinced that their new friend living abroad is sending presents through courier or is shifting in India and is need some immediate financial help to clear customs duty for their goods.
    New age fraudsters are leveraging this pandemic through phishing activities – for example, customers are being misled for finishing KYCs formalities of their newly opened account, e-wallets etc. and employees who work from home are being targeted for data thefts through free video conference apps, screen sharing platforms among others.
    Hackers and fraudsters are capable of deploying a type of malware that could potentially destroy or control a system remotely. Most of these frauds are executed as we, at times, fail to acknowledge it.
    Below are some safety tips to keep in mind while working or transacting online:
    Do’s
    Do practice safe online shopping
    Using a renowned e-commerce platform will help you to fetch products at the right price. It can prevent the mishaps of incorrectly navigating illegitimate websites that may steal your vital personal information or corrupt your device. This practice of creating fake websites with a similar spelling of web addresses is a fairly common scam known as ‘typo-squatting’ or URL hacking. Avoid getting trapped or lured by heavy discounts offered by unknown portals.
    Do use a firewall and paid antivirus
    Firewalls are the first line of defence as they monitor traffic between your computer or network and the Internet. Most operating systems come with a firewall inbuilt, but you must ensure you activate it. A paid antivirus is always recommended than the ones that are available for free. Always use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect to your office network through a private Wi-Fi network.
    Do keep your passwords secret
    Passwords are the foremost defence mechanisms against fraudsters. You should avoid the practice of saving all your net-banking passwords and transactional PINs in notepads or text box of your devices. Develop strong passwords which will help keep sensitive information intact. Apart from these, one should also refrain from sharing OTP, CVV number etc. to unknown people over call, even if the person on the other line assure you that they are calling from the bank you have an account with.
    Don’ts
    Do not download files from unknown emails or messages
    Always practice caution while checking emails or messages from ‘Unknown person’. Do not download any files. Do not click on any click baits or links that entice you with malicious offers and deals, as they could connect to phony websites that are designed to extract personal information. It is advisable to mark an email as spam once you find it irrelevant or illegitimate.
    Do not use public computers/public Wi-Fi for financial transactions
    Public networks such as cyber cafes or public Wi-Fis are open networks, which makes them very susceptible to hacking. Free data may be tempting but utilising that at the cost of your privacy is never a good idea.
    Do not share your desktop screens
    There is no doubt that in this period of webinars and online meetings, some tools have come to our rescue. However, do not share your screens with unknown people and never admit them in your meeting sessions unless you know and positively identify the parties you are interacting with. Remember that scammers can scan your device if the sharing control is enabled.
    Lastly, one should try and stay abreast of the updated data protection policies, cybercrime, online frauds and essential technologies to be on the safer side of this ever evolving ecosystem.
    Niranjan Upadhye is General Manager, Fraud Risk Management at Worldline India. Views are personal
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