Protect Your Money From Online Fraudsters

We get usual messages on phone or email such as “Congrats! Your personal loan has been approved up to INR 1 crore. Some may ignore and those who click on the link attached out of curiosity, will land on a web page resembling to their own banks and ask for personal financial information. Once you have done that, the loop is complete. Your money is gone, you would have just experienced online bank fraud.

The increase in digital transactions in India has also led to a corresponding increase in the number of people losing their money online. As per an RBI report, a total of 2,059 cases of cyber fraud were reported in 2017–18 amounting to Rs 109.6 crore. As more and more Indians enter the digital payments space, it is becoming increasingly important to have more awareness on issues related to online bank fraud.

Methods of online fraud

There are multiple ways you can lose money online like Phishing where some royal prince will send an email from foreign country having some issues in exchanging money and has chosen you for help in exchange to share the money and asks for your bank details post that they will disappear with the money. It’s difficult to give an exhaustive list of such online frauds but some common ones are Card Skimming: This is fairly straightforward. A small electronic machine, called a skimmer is installed in a Point of Sale (POS) machine or an ATM. When you use your card, the skimmer copies information about your card, which helps to steal money from your account. Another form is Vishing which is similar to phishing and the interaction happens over the phone. The most common scenario involves someone pretending to call from your bank, already having some of your banking details and asking for your personal banking information. This is often coupled with threats about your debit or credit card being blocked if you don’t give up the information. Giving up your personal information can lead to your money being stolen. The other form is Fake Bank Apps: These are android apps which have your banks logo, and an almost similar user interface to the original app. Sometimes cashback and other rewards may also be offered to entice people to download these apps. This makes it easy for fraudsters to steal customer information at a large scale and then extract money from their account.

What can i do about it?

  • As a customer, you first have to understand your rights and responsibilities. You have the following rights so as to be protected from online bank fraud:
    – The right to register and receive SMS notification of all electronic banking transactions that take place through your account.
    – The right to register and receive email alerts for electronic banking transactions through your account.
  • The right to register and receive email alerts for electronic banking transactions through your account.
  • You must not reveal/share payment credentials with any third party.
  • The legal option is to Lodge a complaint to the Bank: Most banks have staff dedicated to matters like this. The relevant contact details are found on the backside of your card as well as the website of the bank. Telephone numbers of help desks are also displayed at every ATM machine. If you have suffered a loss you must immediately contact the banks via phone (preferable) or email. Do not forget to note the complaint number and follow up your complaint using the same number. The bank should acknowledge your email.
  • Filing a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman in your jurisdiction if you are not satisfied with the solution provided by the bank and would like to further enquire the matter, you can approach the banking ombudsman established by the Reserve Bank of India under the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006. Each bank is required to display at its branch the details of the Banking Ombudsman under whose jurisdiction the branch falls. Complaints may be lodged with the respective Banking Ombudsman.
  • The next step is filing a complaint with the nearest cybercrime cell/police station and register an FIR which is essential. Besides filing an FIR with the cybercrime cell of a police station, you can also file an online complaint on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Online Crime Reporting Portal. Register a complaint by providing detailed information about the incident.
  • The next option is to file a case with the relevant consumer forum. The Consumer Forum is present at the District, State and National Levels and the jurisdiction depends on the value of money lost. You should approach consumer forums only when you feel that the bank has been negligent, and has not given you proper service. You can file a complaint in the place where the money was lost, or where the opposite party (that is, the bank) carries on their business.

Online fraud is going to remain an issue, and as the volume and value of our digital payments system increases, so does the threat of online bank fraud. It is not really possible to eliminate bank fraud totally, but you can reduce its density by being careful. Simple things like installing an antivirus on your phone to protect from malware, or never sharing any banking information with anyone who you don’t trust can make a big difference.


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