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The move to demonetize specific currency valuations has driven the spike in mobile-based transactions in India. Considering there was a cash crunch at a point in time, most of the people had to turn to mobile banking to carry out everyday transactions, money transfer, utility bill payments, and the likes.

While one can still argue about the pervading relevance of cash, there is no denying that mobile banking has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the economy. Let us explore what is on offer:

What is mobile banking?

Essentially, mobile banking mirrors internet banking. It means that all the transactions that you could do over the internet can now be done via a simple downloadable mobile application. Currently, most leading banks have dedicated mobile banking applications that you can easily download from Play Store (for Android OS) or the App Store (for iOS OS).

Mobile banking, as the name suggests, comprises online transactions that are specific to banking. These include transferring small funds, paying utility and phone bills, making purchases and investments, keeping a tab on investment records, changing debit/credit card passwords, managing multiple alerts, and the likes.

That being said, mobile banking has its share of pitfalls. While it is a convenient banking tool that has made banking more accessible, you should be cautious and take specific measures to safeguard against any fraud.

What are mobile banking-related frauds?

Understand that the risks of mobile banking are identical to those associated with internet banking. Malefactors use SMS phishing (also called smishing) and spurious third-party apps to scoop up personal data and other banking details that you save on your phone. Sanitize your mobile data and carry out health checks just like you’d do to your laptop.

Remember that a mobile virus can result in data duplication and unauthenticated transfer of personal information.

Mobile banking fraud types

Stated below are some common methods that violators may use for a data breach:

Service provider’s data breach

Wrongdoers can hack into the reserves of personal data lying with the telecom service providers. This way, subscribers of the particular network provider will stand to have a wealth of valuable information compromised and leaked.

Frauds by call centers

In the case of mobile banking, customer service representatives perform some basic checks before revealing to one his account details. Should the wrongdoer have already accessed such information, it would be easy for him to dupe the representative into revealing critical account details.

Mobile theft

Irrespective of whether your phone is password-protected, know that it can still be unlocked and vital details accessed by people with malicious intent. To better your chances, make sure you are setting a complex password that cannot be deciphered easily.

Safe mobile banking practices

  • One of the first things that you must do is download only the applications that have been verified by multiple users. A host of digital distribution platforms might (unknowingly) host misleading apps that are designed to swindle unsuspecting users out of their hard-earned money. It is advised to download any mobile banking app via the bank’s website that you log into on your browser.
  • Stay away from applications that appear suspicious or could be asking for a raft of personal details. Get the hint early, and you will be able to prevent fraud.
  • Download only the banks’ official apps and keep off any third-party website. No matter how many times you are asked to, don’t ever share confidential information (MPIN, passwords, OTPs) over third-party applications/websites.
  • Secure your mobile with a strong and complex alphanumeric password. Before buying a new phone, remember to wipe off all the data from the existing device.
  • Don’t reply to text messages (or answer phone calls) that don’t seem authentic
  • Don’t click on ‘Remember’ when your device prompts you to save passwords and mobile banking PIN. While it might be just a little inconvenient for you to furnish all the details during every log-in, it is always prudent to play safe and compromise on convenience when personal details are at stake.

In conclusion

In this hyper-connected world, there is, unfortunately, little that you can do beyond a point. However, sometimes all it takes is common sense and standard hygiene checks to avert a potential fraud. Ensure that you download a quality anti-virus on your phone, and set up encryption and firewalls wherever necessary.

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