Best ways to safeguard financial identity
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.