What Is Online Fraud? Know The Ways To Safeguard Yourself From Online Frauds

According to a recent report, approximately Rs.128 crore was stolen through malicious online activities between 1st October 2019 and 31st December 2019. Furthermore, in the last quarter of 2019, around 21,000 online fraud cases were registered.

Similarly, thousands of individuals around the world fall victim to online fraud schemes every year. Theft of sensitive information such as credit or debit card details, bank account number through various deceptive methods using the internet is known as online or internet frauds.

There are different types of internet frauds one must know about. Some of them have been mentioned below –

  1. Phishing

Hackers and cybercriminals sent fraudulent emails from legitimate-looking addresses asking users to complete payment by entering card details. Cybercriminals may also send emails disguising as financial institutions asking individuals for their account details. Unsuspecting individuals mistaking them for original websites may end up providing sensitive information which the criminals can use for fraudulent activity.

  1. Malware

Malware are software programs designed to infiltrate computer or mobile systems and pass sensitive information to the source of origination. Various types of malicious software include malware, spyware, virus, etc.

  1. Identity theft

Identity theft is another common type of online fraud. Stealing someone’s personal details and using it for a fraudulent transaction or unauthorised purchase is known as identity theft.

  1. Counterfeit websites

As the name suggests, these fake websites mask themselves as an authentic source, and are designed to trick unsuspecting consumers. Purchasing products from these sites can result in internet banking fraud or theft of credit or debit card details.

Individuals, therefore, should know about the ways to prevent from falling prey to any of the above mentioned online frauds.

Preventive measures

Some of the fraud prevention measures have been mentioned below –

  1. Install protective software –

Malwares usually gets downloaded on a computer or mobile phone while the user is unaware of such download. Consequently, one should install robust antivirus software to prevent such malicious software from infecting and causing damage to your computer. Apart from such anti-malware software, one should also install anti-spam software which will help users to screen spam and junk mails.

  1. Avoid sharing personal data –

It is one of the most crucial steps that every internet user must follow. Individuals should avoid sharing their personal information such as their name, contact information, payment card and account details on any public forums to prevent online fraud.

However, in the case of e-commerce sites, where individuals need to enter their card details, they should verify whether the site is genuine or counterfeit. To this end, they should check the following things –

  • Website address to see if it is secure or not.
  • Whether the site has errors in spellings, punctuation, grammar, etc.
  • Check the age of the website and domain name.

As an additional safety net, individuals can also consider opting for insurance plans such as Wallet Cover provided by Bajaj Finserv under its Pocket Insurance & Subscriptions, which offers round the clock card blocking service.

  1. Use strong passwords –

One should also use strong passwords for sites that contain personal information or require online payment, as it helps in fraud protection and prevents hackers and cybercriminals from accessing them easily.

To create a strong password, one must follow the below mentioned guidelines –

  • The password should not be something obvious such as birth date or name.
  • It should contain a combination of numbers, letters and characters.
  • A password should not comprise sequential numbers or letters.

Besides using a strong password, one can also consider opting for an insurance cover like identity assure plan for enhanced protection. Such policies in place help cover the insured against financial losses due to online fraud like identity theft.

  1. Verify before providing bank details –

One may come across cases where they receive emails claiming to be their financial institution, asking to update account details. In that case, they should always verify it first with their respective lending institution or card issuer before providing any such information.

Apart from that, individuals can also opt for a fraudulent charges cover for adequate financial compensation in case any unauthorized transactions take place from their debit or credit card account. Hence, while surfing online or conducting any transaction on the internet, it is vital to stay vigilant at all times to prevent online fraud.