Digital is the new normal. These days everything has moved online – our work, education, shopping, doctor consultations, bill payments and even investments. It is easy, convenient and happens at the click of a button, from the comfort of our homes. But like all good things in life, it comes at a cost – the cost of falling prey to online or cyber frauds.
Data is no longer just binary information. Rather, in today’s times it is one of the most personal and valuable assets to hold. The gravity of the cyber fraud problem can be assessed from the fact that as per an FBI report1, India ranks 3rd in the global list of number of cyber-crime victims. In the year 2019, Rs. 1.24 trillion was lost in India as a result of cybercrime2. The numbers are scary! Makes you re-think about taking the online route, especially while investing your hard-earned money.
So, what should we do? Ditch the online world completely? No. Of course not. That is neither possible nor practical! The need of the hour is to be cognizant of these cyber fraudsters and instill these practices while investing online.
Too close and personal for your comfort? Beware!
Organizations or individuals who ask for your personal information (such as passwords, CVV, bank/credit card details, OTP, etc.) are definitely “phishing” and not genuine. No financial institution or its representatives would ever ask you for these details.
Check before clicking
Gone are the days when fraudsters would send across mails or messages with grammatical errors, unprofessional language or spelling mistakes. Sadly, the scamsters have evolved! However, one thing that remains constant across such online scams is unknown or unsecure URLs. Diligently check the links sent in emails or messages before clicking on them. That extra five minutes you spend on checking the URL could save you from years of heartburn and loss. Remember the golden rule – If it sounds too good to be true or suspicious – most likely it is!
Lookout for security logos while making payments or investments. For instance – PCI (Payment Certification Industry) compliant websites are equipped to keep your data secure and avoid any breaches. Similarly, payment gateways should ideally have ‘https’ as against http (former being secure) and a padlock icon. There are also online applications that can detect unsafe or fraudulent websites on your devices. Also, keep on updating your Operating Software from time to time. The newer versions come with better security patches.
Passwords are safe only in your mind
Mr. X, a smart investor, used to ensure that his passwords were strong (no birthdates, etc.) and changed them frequently. But he made a cardinal sin! He made a list of all the important details such as bank account details, passwords and e-mailed it to himself.
Next, he knew, he was logged out of his own bank account. Never store passwords in applications (e-mails, messages, etc.) as they can be hacked easily.
Public Wi-fi or shared connections
Never make any online investments on public wi-fi or shared connections (such as cyber cafes). Such networks can be hacked or breached very easily and your data can get compromised.
With growing digitalization, we do increase the chance of exposing our personal data and privacies to scamsters and fraudsters. But as they say, where there is a will, there is a way. The trick is to ensure that we are one step ahead of their game. Remain alert and cautious and no one will be able to scam you out of your hard-earned money
Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.