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Cyber Security Awareness: Beware of these Cyber Frauds (Part 1)

Cyber Security Awareness Month is celebrated worldwide to safeguard our digital identities and transactions. This month-long awareness drive has grown with the rise in cyber-crime incidents worldwide, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. People have become digitally more savvy and have been using online banking and digital payments. This has also made them more prone to online financial frauds and scams like impersonation, vishing, phishing, and identity theft.

Therefore, promoting awareness is the only way to protect individuals. This two-part blog series lists cyber security awareness tips across various types of frauds in online banking and digital transactions. Let's take a look.

1. Contactless Payments

  • With the introduction of contactless WiFi debit/credit cards, customers can make up to Rs. 2,000 transactions without entering any PIN or swiping

  • If your contactless payment card is stolen or lost, it might be used to carry out unauthorised transactions

  • Immediately report and block lost or stolen contactless payment cards, and report the fraudulent activity to the authorities


2. SIM Swapping and SIM Cloning

  • Fraudsters try to access your SIM card or duplicate it because all your accounts are linked to your registered number. They often call you pretending to be mobile operator staff and try to convince you with SIM upgrades or benefits

  • Never share SIM card credentials or your "PORT OUT CODE" received from TRAI with untrusted callers

  • If you face constant network issues or have a problem receiving OTPs, ensure that your SIM has not been duplicated


3. Instant Personal Loan Apps

  • Many fake apps and websites claim to provide instant loans, which may defraud you or charge very high interest rates

  • Never download any unauthorised or 3rd party instant loan apps. Always watch out for contact details or unverified social media handles mentioned

  • Never share personal details or make a transaction on such apps

  • Watch out for red flags like "too-good-to-be-true offers", "limited-time schemes", or scare tactics

  • A genuine lender will never offer loans without verifying documents or asking for payment before processing the loan


4. Online classified marketplace scams

  • Fraudsters posing as sellers on online classified marketplaces set up fake accounts and listings to lure buyers and steal their money

  • Once in contact, they often refuse to meet in person, ask for payment via alternate means, or might even ask for your personal details under the pretext of verification

  • Verify the authenticity of sellers online and insist on meeting them face-to-face

  • Never share any personal details online and pay only through secure payment methods


5. Broadband internet security

  • If your internet connection is not secure, hackers and other cyber-criminals can target your device with malicious bugs and malware

  • These threats can be used for phishing personal and sensitive information and stealing data

  • Install recommended software for protecting your internet connection and switch on regular updates for real-time threat detection


6. ATM threats

  • ATM skimming fraud is common wherein fraudsters install skimming devices, keypad trackers, or pinhole cameras in ATMs that can steal your card data

  • Always verify that no suspicious device is installed in your ATM unit

  • Always hide the panel when entering the PIN and ensure that no one is present nearby


7. Loan KYC Frauds

  • Do not click on any suspicious SMS links that may ask you to update your KYC

  • Beware of any suspicious representatives reaching out to you to update your KYC on your loan account

  • Do not click on links in SMSes that ask you to update your loan-related KYC, as doing so may result in identity theft or loss of your sensitive data

  • Official representatives of financial institutions such as banks and NBFCs will never ask for personal information via email, SMS, WhatsApp or phone call


8. AePS Frauds

  • The rise in AePS (Aadhaar Enabled Payment System) payments has also given birth to frauds where misuse of biometric data has led to monetary loss

  • Fraudsters first access the victim’s Aadhaar card and then clone the linked fingerprint on rubber. This fingerprint is then used to transfer money to fraudulent accounts via biometric machines in banks

  • Never share your Aadhaar details with anyone and alert the authorities of any suspicious AePS transaction


9. Point of Sale (POS) Frauds

  • Point of sale fraud is where an employee steals the money from their employer at a point in business where a sale is made

  • These also involve malicious skimming devices attached to the Point of Sale terminals at stores and shops

  • These devices copy your card's data when you swipe it, which are then be used to carry out fraudulent transactions or sold on the black market

  • Always inspect the Point of Sale terminal thoroughly for any suspicious devices attached to it before swiping your card. You can even shake the device to be sure

  • Reach out to your bank or NBFC if you notice a fraudulent transaction on your credit/debit/EMI cards

10. UPI scams

  • One common scam is fraudsters sending you a 'Request for Money' message on UPI apps. If you authorise this with your UPI PIN, you may end up losing your money

  • You need to enter a PIN only for sending money. Do not 'Pay' or enter your UPI PIN to receive money

  • Fraudsters can also convince you to install apps that allow them remote access to your devices through trickery and malicious activities. This way, they can note down your UPI PIN and use it for fraudulent transactions later on

  • Beware of fake UPI apps that can steal your data while registration, or SMS sent by fake UPI helpline numbers that ask you to make a payment by clicking on a link

  • Never share your UPI PIN or other details with anyone, and always double-check before making a payment or answering a request on your UPI apps


Now that we've learnt about various types of frauds, Cyber Security Awareness Month: Tips to Stay Safe from Cyber Frauds (Part 2) will look at more some cyber security awareness tips. We will also list down general dos and don'ts concerning cyber-crime.

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