12/08/2016 11:58 AM IST | Updated 16/08/2016 8:39 AM IST

5 Common Cyber-Crimes That Could Make Short Work Of Your Savings

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Sometimes the simplest of precautions can go a long way in protecting you from becoming a victim of fraud. The fact is that cyber-criminals are constantly looking for ways to steal our hard-earned money from our bank accounts or gain control of our credit/debit cards. They use various techniques to gain access to vital account information which will enable them to commit such crimes. We have observed that customers often fall prey to their machinations and give away passwords, PIN, OTP, etc. Guarding this information should be a priority for us and we must be vigilant about following safe banking practices to defend ourselves from fraud. Listed below are some of the most common fraudulent activities and also ways to deal with the situation should you be targeted.

1. Phishing

Phishing refers to an attempt to "fish" for your bank account details. Phishing could be in the form of an e-mail which appears to be from a bank or a government institution (RBI, Income Tax, etc.) or from a popular website. It is imperative to note that banks will never ask for confidential data such as login credentials and transaction password, One Time Password (OTP) and Unique Reference Numbers, among others. If you receive an e-mail asking for your confidential information, do not comply and immediately report the communication to your bank.

2. Vishing

Vishing is very similar to phishing -- the only difference is the technology used. Phishing involves the use of e-mails to trick customers into providing their personal details, while vishing involves voices or telephonic services. Typically, a vishing call involves a person posing as an employee from your bank or another reputed organization, claiming to need your personal details. Don't fall prey to such calls and refuse to part with any information, while immediately reporting it to your bank and the police.

3. Skimming

This involves a device or camera that is installed at an ATM to pick up card information and/or PIN when customers use their cards. Once this data is acquired, the criminal withdraws money from the machine. If you suspect that an ATM has a suspicious device, immediately get in touch with your bank and inform the police.

4. Cloning

Cloning can happen online as well as offline. Card-cloning devices are usually planted in ATMs or POS machines where cards are swiped for transactions. These cloning devices copy the details of your card, which are later used for making unauthorized online purchases. If you notice an unwarranted transaction from your account, immediately let your bank and the police know.

5. Malware

Malware refers to various forms of malicious software which can disrupt a communication device, exposing the stored sensitive data that can then be exploited. Trojans, viruses and other forms of malware spread through e-mails and instant messages sent by unknown sources. Remember, never click on attachments or download files received from unknown websites or e-mail addresses. Always use licensed and updated software, as well as anti-virus and anti-spyware packages for your communication devices.

Mentioned above are only the most common ways in which a consumer can be cheated. There are many other illegal methods used by cyber-criminals to circumvent security measures. Make sure to educate yourself and remain vigilant at all times to stay ahead of scamsters.

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