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As more and more people come into the fold of digital transactions, a new form of fraud is on the rise. Some senior bankers Mint spoke to said that fraudsters have evolved a new form of “vishing”. Let’s understand how this fraud is happening and how you should protect yourself from it. But first, understand the basic types of online frauds.

Common online frauds

Phishing: This is the most common fraud cyber criminals employ. Here, a victim is trapped using fake emails or websites. The user is led to a fake website when she clicks on an email or a web link that appears to be genuine, but isn’t. The user is then tricked into entering sensitive details such as login, address, contact number and date of birth that can be used to profile her. This could lead to identity theft. Often, identity theft is only the first step of causing larger damages such as stealing critical information or money from your bank account.

Vishing: This is the category of frauds where fraudsters employ tele-calling. The call is used to extract sensitive information from the victim. While the most common type of vishing call is from someone claiming to be from a financial services company who wants to block your account, fraudsters have now devised a new way to trap users who might not be very tech savvy.

New method

Suppose you face a problem regarding your bank account. You search the bank’s customer care number online, and open the first link that displays it. You call up the number, and the person on the other side talks you into sharing sensitive information. You later realize that you have become a victim of a fraudulent transaction.

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Often, the first number that pops up is not genuine. The website hosting the fake number may be pretending to be your bank’s website. Fraudsters use search engine optimization to bring such a website among the top search results. Or they get the fake number published on a popular but unofficial website. Such fraud can also happen when people search for phone numbers of specific branches.

What you should do

A thumb rule is to never share details such as the complete card or account number, card expiry date, CVV, PIN and OTP with anyone. Bank representatives never seek these details. If someone does, that is a red flag.

When you need to reach out to banks to raise a complaint, use the official channels. For instance, look up and visit the official bank website to get the customer care number and don’t just rely on random searches. Many banks also integrate the facility of calling the customer care number into their apps.

Those who are new to the digital channel are more prone to such traps. So be careful before you click on attractive links that you get through SMSes, emails or WhatsApp forwards or when you talk to some bank representative for any purpose.

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