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Tips For Safe Banking Practices

4 minsDecember 20, 2017

The banking and financial services industry is constantly improving their customer service best practices. Many in the industry have high fiduciary processes and systems. There are some fundamental global safety banking standards that all banks must adhere to.

However, as customers/clients, be responsible to avoid possible frauds, particularly, while banking online. Here are some common frauds:

Vishing –– This is a common fraudulent practice of tele-operators purporting to be from the bank, calls you up or leaves a voice message, to elicit personal and/or financial information with an intention to deceive you. Often, the visher’s (perpetrator) strategy is to create fear or anxiousness to extract vital information.

Please note: Banks do not ask for sensitive information on calls.

Hence, never respond to calls or messages soliciting personal and/or financial information. And, if you come across such an instance, report to the appropriate authorities immediately to seek necessary help and action.

Phishing –– These are mails claiming to be from authorised channels asking you to reveal personal and/or financial information. These emails appear to be from legitimate sources; but they are not. They have been astutely designed. They even have similar looking or sounding website, and if you visit them and enter your personal and/or financial details, phishers (perpetrators) may be able to gain access to your confidential information. So, it’s alike fishing where a net, a trap is laid trying to seize vital information from you.

Money mules –– These announce that you’ve won a mighty sum, or you can earn additional income ever minute via an e-mail, letter, pop-up window, or a telephone call (invariably directed at job seekers). They are luring, but often misguiding.

Their sole purpose is to obtain certain confidential information. Money mules may also claim that huge sums of money for disbursal of loans at cheap rates are kept in an account with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and may show copies of certificate/deposit receipts purported to have been issued by the Reserve Bank. But please note that RBI does maintain names of individuals / companies / trusts in India to hold funds for disbursal. In fact, the central bank warns you to be cautious of such offers.

Mind you, fraudsters are getting smarter and believable in their overall approach. Therefore never reply to such mails, letters, and calls..

Trojan –– This is a virus attack that usually enters the system vide unknown e-mails, or while browsing the internet and downloading from unsecured websites. A Trojan attack can do multiple things: identity theft, data theft, spying or tracking user activity, to crashing the computer. Hence, make a point to see who the sender is very carefully before opening emails and do not download files from unsecured websites.

The internet and technology is a boon, but be prudent in the way you use it to transact.

Skimming –– This is an act of stealing information through magnetic strip on the cards that used at ATM kiosks and merchant establishments. Skimmers use a small device that stores information contained in this magnetic trip. A tiny strategically positioned camera could be used to capture your PIN.

Hence, be careful while using your ATM-cum-debit cards and credit cards when transacting at shady, unfamiliar places; because skimming can happen even in the midst of legitimate transactions.

Here are some tips for safe banking…

Tips for Internet Banking

  • Avoid using internet banking on shared computers and public places like cafés, libraries, etc.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi while transacting.
  • Never disclose your login passwords/NetSecure Codes to anyone.
  • Do not reveal your account information to telemarketer or tele-callers.
  • Never reply to emails that request personal and financial information.
  • Ensure that you password in alphanumeric in combination of capital and small letter and include special characters to make it strong as far as possible.
  • Make it a point to change your internet banking password regularly.
  • Every time you complete your online banking session, log out and then shutdown.
  • Check for the last login to your internet banking account.
  • Install firewall and anti-virus software and update to help detect and disable malicious software.
  • Disable the ‘Auto Complete’ function on your browser.
  • Ensure that the website is secured –– check for the green padlock in the URL and a valid SSL certificate.
  • Get your mobile number registered with the bank for real-time updates on your bank account.
  • Do online money transfers personally
  • Periodically check your transaction history and balance.

Tips for Mobile Banking

  • Make sure you are using the official mobile banking app.
  • Set a mPIN/password which are strong and keep changing them regularly.
  • If your mobile phone is at the service or repair centre, clear the browsing history, temp files, cache, block your mobile app.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi to transact and disable Bluetooth and GPS feature of smartphone.
  • Do not save confidential information, viz. PINs, passwords, account numbers, CVV (Card Verification Value) numbers on your smartphone.
  • Do not part with confidential information via text messages or emails.
  • Disable auto-fill and avoid selecting the ‘REMEMBER PASSWORD’ option.
  • Log-off after using the mobile banking app instead of merely closing it.
  • Register/update your mobile number and e-mail ID for alerts and tracking.
  • Update your mobile app with a security feature to filter bugs.
  • Ensure the operating system and the browsers of your smartphone are updated.
  • Do not leave smartphones unattended.
  • Passcode protect your phone efficiently.

Tips for Phone banking

  • When speaking to a phone-banking officer, never disclose confidential information verbally. Key-in the details, viz. 4-digit ATM/IVR PIN, 6-digit 3D secure PIN, OTP password, Internet Banking password, CVV, etc., using the IVR for validation purpose.
  • Ensure that no one sees you enter the needed confidential details.
  • Avoid sharing verification details to the phone banking officer.
  • Phone Banking channel is meant to be used by the account holder only.
  • Do not hand your phone over to a third party once self-authentication is complete.

Tips for ATM banking

  • Never write your ATM PIN on ATM-cum-debit card.
  • Memorise your ATM PIN instead. Change it frequently.
  • Do not part your ATM PIN or card with anyone.
  • Keep your card at a secured place to avoid damage or theft.
  • Ensure you are on your own when using the ATM.
  • Do not seek assistance from strangers.
  • If you have requested a transaction slip, make sure you take it with you.
  • If your card is stuck or has not been dispensed, intimate your bank immediately.
  • Report lost or stolen card.
  • After you finish transacting via ATM, do not forget to press the ‘cancel’ button.

Tips for using credit card and debit-cum-ATM cards

  • As soon as you receive the consignment of your card, check if your name is spelt correctly, and in case of any error, inform the issuing bank immediately.
  • If applied for add-on card/s absent in the same consignment, inform the issuing bank immediately.
  • Sign at the back of the card/s
  • Make sure the cards are kept appropriately at a safe place, where you can see in case it’s missing
  • When you use the cards at merchandise or online, do not let anyone see while you enter the PIN.
  • Ensure that the card is swiped in your presence and not swiped on multiple devices.
  • Ensure that your card number, card-expiry date, and the three-digit CVV number are not captured in writing anywhere.
  • Draw lines through the extra space on the merchant’s receipt, to avoid additional charges or amounts.
  • After transacting at merchandise outlet/restaurants, ensure the card you that has been returned to you is indeed yours.
  • Check your receipts against the card statements.
  • While using a smartphone and/or laptop to make card payments make sure the firewalls, there’s an anti-virus software running and avoid using public Wi-Fi. Ensure the website is secured with a green padlock in the URL and has a valid SSL certificate. Plus, avoid using unsecure public computers to execute transactions. Also, log-off once you have completed the transaction.
  • Get your mobile number registered with the bank to get real-time alerts.
  • Keep reviewing your account regularly –– do it online or over the phone.
  • If your postal address has changed, make it a point to notify the issuing bank so that your card statements don’t land up in wrong hands.
  • Do not hand-over copies or original documents containing your personal data like your birth date, PAN number, financials, address proofs, etc. to an unknown person.
  • Never answer emails or call seeking your card details.
  • Never give a photocopy of the back of your card to anyone for any reason, even if it is an application for a new credit card.
  • Report lost card/s.
  • Do not use replaced card before the primary card is blocked.
  • Destroy expired card/s, statement, transaction slips before disposing.

Tips while availing loans and investing

  • Ask for a proof of identity of the bank executive whom you are dealing with.
  • Do not sign on any blank application form.
  • Avoid parting with your original documents with the bank executive.
  • Ensure you get proper acknowledgements and notification of your application for loans and investments.
  • After submitting your documents, if you decide not to avail a loan or invest inform the bank immediately.
  • If any cheque is issued for charges or fees, please issue them in favour of your bank, and not in the name of any individual. Do not make cash payments.
  • When you invest always deal with SEBI registered or authorised intermediaries.
  • Do not pay attention to rumours or advertisement that promises huge returns.
  • Avoid investing online using public computers and Wi-Fi.
  • Ensure firewalls, anti-virus software is active on your device, and transact only on secured websites with a green padlock in the URL and a valid SSL certificate.
  • Always log-off once you finish transacting.
  • Set strong passwords and do not share confidential information with anyone.
  • Make sure you check your loan and investment statements regularly. In case there are discrepancies, bring it to notice.

You may have observed that some best practices are common across banking channels to perform safe transactions. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Therefore, while you bank smartly, play it safe; because with critical information shared, you are also exposed to risk.

Happy Banking!

Disclaimer: This article has been authored by PersonalFN, a Mumbai based Financial Planning and Mutual Fund research firm known for offering unbiased and honest opinion on investing. Axis bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank & PersonalFN shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.


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