In today’s digital world, internet banking, remote billing, UPI, and even mobile wallets are gaining popularity due to their convenience, speed, and ease of access. This basically paves the way for consumer financial data to enter the digital space. The use of mobile payment systems and digital wallets around the world has increased dramatically, especially during the pandemic. However, with any digital transaction, cybersecurity is always a concern, digital wallets and online payments like UPI are constantly vulnerable when customers are unaware of fraudulent tactics. Financial institutions are constantly trying to prevent the compromise or loss of consumer information. After all, consumer data is just as secure as the precautions they take. We all know the importance of protecting our personal information when we use the Internet. When it comes to your finances, it is even more important to take steps to protect your financial data.
There are many ways to jeopardize our financial information online, from cybercrime and identity theft to phishing and bank fraud. That’s why you need to be very careful with your financial data. Fintech fraud affects everyone, not just consumers. Businesses are increasingly vulnerable to email scams and internet frauds, as evidenced by recent data breaches at major retailers and the rise of fake emails. Organizations with dedicated IT departments are working hard to protect their sensitive data and may have taken all necessary precautions.
Many online security precautions can protect businesses. You may think that you do not have valuable financial information. So, won’t you become a victim of cybercriminals? In fact, fraudsters are looking for individuals similar to yours to avoid suspicion of their crimes. A fraudster can use your identifying information (name, address, passport number, bank details) to apply for a mortgage loan or credit card on your behalf. A fake passport or driver’s license can be created using your identity.
1. Use a secure internet connection
When shopping or banking online, make sure you use a secure website. A secure website uses encryption to protect your information in traffic. Public Wifi networks, such as those you find in cafes or airports, are often not secure, and the data you send and receive can be captured by people on the same network. By signing your phone to an unsecured public Wi-Fi connection, fraudsters can easily gain access to your financial information. When paying online or entering sensitive financial data, be sure to use a secure personal connection. If the site is secure, the URL starts with “https” and has a key icon next to the URL. To protect your information, avoid entering personal or financial information when using a public WiFi network. Buy products on online shopping websites and online stores.
2. Protect your devices
Always protect your devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablet against viruses. First, install and update your antivirus software and make sure your firewall is active. Pay attention to what you download and clear the cache and browsing history of your device. Device fingerprints have increased the importance of devices such as mobile phones and laptops. The device can be jailbroken offline or online. Offline hacking can occur if you leave your device in the wrong hands, such as leaving your phone at an unknown repair site. Internet hacking can occur as a result of direct attacks. Most of them occur during download of pirated programs, movies, etc. from unprotected operating systems. In addition, devices can be compromised by viruses or malware. Hackers can access your sensitive financial information via mobile phones and laptops. Update your laptop and mobile phone security software, browser, and operating system to prevent viruses or malware from entering your devices.
3. Reduce your fingerprint
To keep financial information online, users must first minimize their digital footprint. You should minimize the disclosure of your personal and financial information on the Internet. As mobile payment options became available, many payment apps appeared. For these programs to work, you need to insert a debit card or credit card into your mobile wallet. During application, you enter details like card number, VCC number, and card expiration date, which is very dangerous if the network is not secure. You must enter your credit card number once and, if applicable, enable two-step authentication for all online transactions and accounts. With banking now at your fingertips thanks to your smartphone, it’s important to protect your SIM card. You can clone a SIM card in 20-30 minutes if the network suddenly disappears, this is an alarm signal. If you leave your SIM cards unchecked, fraudsters with SIM readers/writers can clone them, use them on another phone, and receive one-time passwords and other messages sent by banks.
4. Do not bite that bait
Never share sensitive financial information with impersonators. They can call, text or email and ask for bank details. Bank employees do not ask for information and do not give details to confirm their identity. Sending one-time passwords (OTP) to unknown companies or scanning uncontrolled fast response (QR) codes is an inevitable way to lose money. A fraudster can send a fundraiser request and ask permission to collect money. If you digitally agree to these types of transactions, you will lose money. Change passwords regularly. Another way to help protect your financial data is to use unique and strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters long and contains a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Avoid using words that are easy to guess, such as names or birthdays. You should also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Additionally, multi-factor authentication, using multiple passwords to access your account, is an important step in protecting your online financial information.Before you click on a link, check the source and hover over the link to see if you’re going to the actual site. Scammers can send you a disguised email to make the sender look like the real person. In other words, they resort to phishing. These emails or messages often contain links that can install malware on your computer or direct you to a fake website that looks real but is designed to steal your information. To protect yourself, do not click on links or attachments in emails unless you are sure they come from a reliable source.
5. Use smart and verified apps only
Living in this digital age with access to everything from food to finance at your fingertips is possible due to the fintech apps. There are several banking apps and mobile wallet apps that help you transact easily within minutes. Do note that these apps store your sensitive financial data, and it could be at risk if you are unaware of the application details. Mobile apps are great for quick access; however, not all apps are secure. How many of us take the trouble of checking the privacy policies of apps that we download? As a rule, don’t give permission to all your data like photos, location, email, SMS, microphone, camera, etc. This can be a serious threat because banks send emails and SMSs for every transaction and any app that reads all that will know your exact banking transaction details. Thus, be mindful of the app you download on your phone and ensure that they are genuine and verified.