Internet banking is a boon and a great time saver in our lives. However, internet banking also comes with its fair share of risks and most of them are caused by our own mistakes. Here are some internet banking mistakes to avoid in India.
Online banking is used by almost everyone these days at least in the cities and also to some extent in the towns and villages. It is great and convenient to make simple transactions, transfer money to someone, check your statements, make fixed deposits, and pay bills and so on. Lot of time is saved. However there is always that lurking threat of online fraud or hacking that can happen to anyone if you are not careful. While using online banking one must be careful and diligent to avoid unwanted surprises later. Here are some internet banking mistakes to avoid in India.
1. Clicking on Links in emails and Giving personal Info over Phones or emails:
Almost all of us would be getting those “ATTENTION REQUIRED” emails with the sender being our own bank, or so it seems. Once we open the email there is a URL that directs us there. DO NOT CLICK THAT. Firstly just hover your mouse over that link and just see the description at the bottom left of your browser, you will notice that it is not your banks URL at least not the correct one. It may have your bank’s names but the exact URL will be slightly different from your bank’s real link.
Also Banks will never ask for personal information via email or Phone calls since if you are a customer they already have pretty much every personal detail they need. They won’t ask for PINs, Passwords, Usernames, and so even if someone asks, DO NOT give that. If you receive any such emails never ever click the links. Always go to the browser and type the URL in by yourself and to check details go to the customer service sections on the site. If you receive such phone calls do not give any information and call the customer care number yourself to talk and clarify if the call was from the bank itself.
2. Using public computers or unsecured public WIFI connections:
Using cyber cafes for internet banking is a NO NO NO NO NO and some more NO NO NO. It is an unsecured place and even if they have antivirus and stuff in place it is never trust worthy. You never know if there are key-loggers installed: Key-loggers are programs that record your key strokes and this way it is easy for them to see what you typed as a username password etc. If you HAVE TO USE A CYBER CAFE for internet banking in India, then change your password as soon as you reach home to be safe and avoid any nasty surprises later on.
Same goes with unsecured WIFI connections or Public WIFI connections. They are vulnerable to hacking and if you have to use them, make sure you change the passwords sooner than later from a secured PC.
Also the best practice is to use the Virtual Keypad that is available during login in to your internet banking accounts. This way, key-loggers are rendered useless since you are clicking at random grid that changes every time you login and there are no key-strokes to be captured. Still changing your passwords once you are home is a better idea. Always use the OTP option that sends a temporary one-time-password to your cell for transactions.
3. Sharing too much information on Social Media:
People go crazy sharing stuff on social media. From selfies to each and every update about their lives is on the social media. Where you are, where you were, where you plan to go, what you are feeling, your dog’s name, relationship status, your spouse’s name, your kids name, your date of birth and so much more. The Funny thing is we Still Call our lives are ‘PERSONAL LIVES’ when actually they are not anymore. Anyway the most crucial thing when it comes to online banking is Full Names, Date of Births, and Mobile Numbers. Make sure the date of birth is not visible to public and only to Friends. Not even Friends of Friends. Also your mobile number that is linked to your internet banking should NOT be visible on social media. It takes a small mistake for an online fraud to happen. Be safe rather than sorry or else the next post on your Facebook page would be Selfie of your crying out loud.
4. Keeping password that is easy to guess:
A very common and basic mistake to avoid when using internet banking in India is to use very generic passwords or passwords that are your name or date of birth, or your relatives or family member’s or pet’s names. Anyone who knows a bit about you can crack it. Use passwords that are a mix of numbers and letters that only you can understand and remember. And by numbers and letters I do not mean ‘abcd123’ no, if you use so simple and straight forward passwords then might as well not have a password or give it our as a Status Update. Again the OTP option is great and always should be used.
5. Outdated Antivirus and Plugins:
Antivirus that is good at malware detection and spyware detection should be your priority and invested in. Keep it updated regularly. Make sure it is active at all times. Secondly there are plugins that are used by browsers to display various menus and options of an internet banking page; keep these plugins up to date. If you need to check for updates of your browser plugins just go to settings of your browser and your will find the option for that. An outdated plugin is vulnerable to attacks.
6. Using unauthorized apps for online banking:
Always use the apps that your bank recommends and no other. Even if you come across a verified and highly rated app for online banking avoid it. Only use your bank recommended mobile banking apps and avoid making online banking mistakes.
7. Letting your accounts be dormant for long periods:
Being careful while transacting online is only part of the solution. You need to actively monitor your accounts and make sure there are no transactions that look unfamiliar or suspicious even if it as low as 50-100 Rupees. If you feel so, notify your bank about it. Keep checking your accounts and don’t let it be dormant for long periods of time.
8. Not using Cache and Cookie Settings of your Browser well:
Modern day browser comes with various cool features. Use those features to your advantage. Mozilla Firefox internet browser provides one such cool feature which is to Destroy Cache and Cookies and Internet History once your close your browser. This is a cool way to be absolutely sure that once you have finished making online transactions and close your browser window, you will be automatically logged out even if you forgot to do so, your history and cache will be deleted so that there cannot be any misuse of it later on. It is an added layer of safety.
Online banking is great but is still mired by its fair share of flaws that by and large we ourselves are responsible for because we make some avoidable mistakes while using online banking in India. Hope this helps, hope you pass it on, it may help someone too.