Digital technology has made things easy for us. For many things in our lives, there are now virtual versions available. The financial world is not staying behind and one of its significant developments is mobile banking.
Gone are the days when you had to visit a bank branch physically to deposit cheques, withdraw money or to avail any other service. Today, if you are connected with your bank via the internet, you are good to go. Worldwide, banks are expanding their online operations; even some are operating solely online.
Thieves were always there to steal your money and as you go online they do too. We call these sophisticated thieves mobile banking fraudsters. They are tech savvy and they use the online medium or should I say the loopholes of online medium in their interest.
In this type of fraud, the fraudsters steal your mobile banking account details and operate the account in your place. It is done so cleverly that the real owner of the account gets no clue of it. In banking sector, usual types of frauds are
- Information fraud – The fraudsters use wrong documents and information to snatch money from your account.
- Money diversion – The fraudsters transfer money from your account to their own accounts or use your money to make big purchases.
- Identity theft – The fraudsters steal your personal information and act as you to borrow money or to access your funds etc.
- Cyber fraud– The fraudsters send malware and viruses in your system to steal your password and other important information.
If you are using mobile banking facility and have registered your phone number with your bank, be aware. There have been instances where such phone numbers were stolen from bank’s system and used in fraudsters’ Smartphone to make subsequent purchases. Before you realize any inconsistency, your overdraft amount will reach the sky.
Once a fraudster has your number, he just calls your service provider and informs them that the existing SIM is stolen or damaged and requests for a new one. To prove that he is the original owner of the SIM, he only needs to answer a security question which is not very difficult to guess. No one of us bothers to set tricky questions and relies on Simple things like the nickname, date of birth etc.
Once this is successfully done, the fraudster gets a new SIM in your name and uses it as he wishes. You are unaware of this until you realize that your connection is not working.
Some people still wait and think that the connection will get better with time. They realize when their banks send them warnings regarding their overdraft amounts. But that is then too late.
If you are relying only on your bank and mobile service provider’s anti-fraud measures, you are taking huge risks. No systems can guarantee full protection.
For the sake of argument let’s assume that their systems are 100% secure. But what about the online payments that you have made using a credit card? The online stores have your card details, your phone number and your other personal information.
Mobile operators and banks are now well aware of such money laundering or fraud incidents and they are trying to make their system 100% leak proof. For example,
- Banks are now very strict regarding the balance maintenance and the size of the transactions.
- They are offering a secret PIN number to every mobile banking account holder. Besides, all the updates of the account are sent to the account holder via text messages.
You, as a mobile banking customer, can also practice some security measures to save yourself from mental and financial distress.
- Never use any link to log in to your bank’s page. Always type the web address to navigate to the site.
- Keep an eye on pop-ups.
- Make sure that the payment process is the same as in the past. If it differs, stop the transaction and contact the bank.
- Never send your login information to anybody per e-mail or SMS.
- If your mobile device has password protection feature, enable that.
The Bottom Line
To keep enjoying the mobile banking facility it is vital that you strictly follow the guidelines of your bank and your mobile service provider. With time, fraudsters are becoming more intelligent and challenging the safety measures. If you are still not careful, read some real life incidents here.