Best ways to safe­guard fi­nan­cial iden­tity

The Pak Banker - - OPINION - Kavya Balaji

MA­JOR­ITY of fraud cases in retail fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions are due to iden­tity theft. Th­ese ac­counted for about 77% of all de­tected fraud cases in the first quar­ter of 2015, ac­cord­ing to a re­port, Fraud Re­port 2016, by Ex­pe­rian In­dia, a credit in­for­ma­tion agency. Ex­perts agree that as use of In­ter­net in­creases in day-to-day fi­nan­cial affairs, cy­ber­crime is also in­creas­ing. "Ac­cord­ing to KPMG's Cy­ber­crime Sur­vey Re­port 2015, cy­ber­crime has dra­mat­i­cally evolved in na­ture and scope in the last few years with cy­ber­crime syn­di­cates us­ing tools of on­line de­cep­tion such as spoofed emails for speak phish­ing at­tacks, and spam emails with mal­ware to at­tack en­ter­prises," said Su­veer Khanna, part­ner-foren­sics, KPMG in In­dia. This study also re­vealed that 63% of the over 250 re­spon­dents (se­nior man­age­ment) in­di­cated that crimes re­sulted in fi­nan­cial loss while 55% said sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion was stolen.

On­line money trans­ac­tions are a way of life, so it's im­por­tant to un­der­stand what iden­tity theft is, how it takes place and what you can do Fraud­u­lently us­ing an­other per­son's name and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion for fi­nan­cial gain is iden­tity theft. "One of the main pur­poses is to get a fi­nan­cial ad­van­tage by pos­ing as an­other per­son. This in­cludes us­ing stolen bank or credit cards to pur­chase goods or ob­tain funds, ap­ply for credit, or oth­er­wise get fi­nan­cial gain from the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of an­other's iden­tity," said Vishesh Dhin­gra, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Fas­ta­cash, a Sin­ga­pore-based fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy (fin­tech) com­pany that fo­cuses on mo­bile pay­ments. There are var­i­ous ways fraud­sters can steal your iden­tity. "Us­ing an­other per­son's per­sonal in­for­ma­tion while open­ing new ac­counts, us­ing an­other per­son's ac­count num­bers or credit card de­tails to buy prod­ucts or ex­tract funds il­le­gally from a per­son's bank ac­count, are some of the ways iden­tity theft can hap­pen," said Khanna. As tech­nol­ogy evolves, the ways in which sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion is stolen has also changed.

Here are some com­mon ones. Can­ning or dump­ster div­ing: Thieves get into your trash (lit­er­ally) to get in­for­ma­tion from dis­carded doc­u­ments such as re­ceipts, bills, and bank state­ments, thrown in the dust­bin. This is then used to im­per­son­ate you to se­cure fi­nan­cial prod­ucts such as loans and credit cards. Vish­ing, phish­ing and smish­ing: Vish­ing is when some­one calls you on your phone to get in­for­ma­tion. "Phish­ing in­volves emails from im­i­ta­tion or spoofed email IDs sent to cus­tomers to ex­tract their on­line bank­ing cre­den­tials and card de­tails," said Khanna. In smish­ing, some­one sends text mes­sages to your phone to get per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. Gen­er­ally, fraud­sters pre­tend to call or send mails and mes­sages from an in­sti­tu­tion or en­tity that you are cur­rently as­so­ci­ated with such as banks and other types of lenders. Hack­ing: Fraud­sters can hack into your com­puter or lap­top, mo­bile or devices such as a tablet, to steal per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. Hack­ers of­ten in­stall mal­ware such as keystroke log­ging soft­ware (records key­strokes and web­sites and takes screen­shots), which helps them get in­for­ma­tion with­out you notic­ing. Mal­ware at­tacks or data breach: It is more ben­e­fi­cial to steal in­for­ma­tion from large or­gan­i­sa­tions that might have de­tails of mil­lions. Cy­ber thieves at­tack data­bases or web­sites of such in­sti­tu­tions to ob­tain sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

"Mal­ware-based at­tacks in­clude mal­ware in­jected on banks' web­sites to ex­tract cus­tomer bank­ing in­for­ma­tion dur­ing a trans­ac­tion. ATMs may be in­fected with mal­ware to eject money. It can also be in­jected in mo­bile bank­ing apps," said Khanna. Cy­ber thieves can ob­tain in­for­ma­tion from any fi­nan­cial prod­uct such as bank ac­count, credit card or loan ac­count. "Vic­tims' per­sonal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments such as PAN (per­ma­nent ac­count num­ber), pass­word, voter ID and oth­ers are used to se­cure cards or bank ac­counts. Once the trans­ac­tion is done, it is dif­fi­cult to track the cul­prits since they are in­vis­i­ble in the en­tire trans­ac­tion," said Ra­jiv Raj, co-founder and di­rec­tor, Cred­itVidya, a credit ad­vice and plan­ning com­pany. The first thing to do is to in­form the as­so­ci­ated in­sti­tu­tion. For in­stance, if your bank ac­count is com­pro­mised, con­tact your bank im­me­di­ately. "Make it a point to note the com­plaint num­ber filed with the bank. Also in­form the bank of all trans­ac­tions not car­ried out by you to en­sure timely and ac­cu­rate re­ver­sals," said Khanna. Next, file a com­plaint with le­gal au­thor­i­ties. "Raise a com­plaint with the lo­cal po­lice. Banks or card is­suers have a pol­icy to ver­ify trans­ac­tions and if they are con­vinced, they will re­verse the trans­ac­tion made through a credit card. Trans­ac­tions from your debit card, how­ever, are not rev­ersible," said Raj.

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