Don't blindly click on any link received via SMS, Social media or Google search

As usual there is a rise in cases of online frauds, Phishing attacks pose important questions on the cyber security in banking channels. 

In the recent past even myself got scammed by a job post from google search. This scammers used the name of government scheme, in this case the scammers built a very professional looking website with photos of government symbols and even PM photo. Advertised a job vacancy with remote work and attractive wages and made job seekers to pay registration fees of ₹250 to an UPI ID.

You receive a random text message with a link to update your bank account details, which takes you to a website and asks for a one-time password. You enter the password. In another few minutes, you get messages that a substantial amount of money is deducted from your bank account. Then begins the panic calls to bank and long process to address the (by now you know) the phishing attack.

The above scenario must have happened with you at some point--or with someone you know. Who is to be blamed for such fraud-attacks? Where does the buck stop? Of late, an increasing number of customers have complained on social media about being victims to fraudsters impersonating big banks.

According to some media reports, around 40 people of a single private banks were defrauded in three days after they clicked on a fraudulent link. Is this something new?

But an Upgraded version of scam, but base is by stimulating your greed (make your eyebrows lift up) 

There have been a number of such frauds reported in the past too.

For instance, in October 2015 such attacks had prompted the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue a public advisory warning public about emails sent by fraudsters impersonating the central bank.

In March 2022, RBI issued another advisory cautioning individuals against SMS, email, instant messaging, phone calls and OTP frauds. Despite all such warnings, there have been such recurring instances. As more people migrate to digital banking channels, the vulnerability to frauds increase.

Last month, the RBI had asked banks to beef up resources to step up Cybersecurity. Also, at a larger level, such rising number of fraud cases raises critical questions on the larger use of central bank digital currency (CBDC), which is in a pilot phase at this point. If Indian banks want to get their digital game right, they need to plug the gaps in digital banking channels by constantly updating their service platforms. This is not only about addressing frauds but also tackling frequent digital outages in tandem with the rise in customer volumes.

What is the solution to tackle phishing attacks? Banks and the regulator can step up the awareness programs to sensitize customers but ultimately caution should be exercised on the part of customers. No bank would ask for personal bank details through messages such as passwords, OTP's or account details. If you are still doubtful about the message you received, call up the bank or visit in person.

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