To practice social distancing to tackle the coronavirus spread, you like many others, are working from home and carrying out financial transactions online. In such a situation are certain precautions for safe banking and online use.
Many of you may be paying your house help or driver in cash. If they are unable to collect their salaries you can transfer it from your Savings Bank account to their accounts using NEFT or IMPs. You will need to add the recipient if you are transferring the funds the first time. Ensure you have all details such as bank name, account number, bank IFSC code before making the transfer. If you don’t know the IFSC code, you can search for it online. Always double-check the details before you finally send the money. Even if there is an error of one digit in the account number, the money could go to some other account. Most banks have the option of keying in the MPIN twice before the transaction is complete to avoid such mistakes. As a precaution try sending a small amount first and if the recipient receives it, then send the rest of the amount. And once the app has been configured do not give app access to any unknown user.
Using your bank’s UPI mobile app is also a convenient way of transferring funds. Many merchants also accept UPI payments today. If you are ordering essential items to be delivered to your home and the delivery person does not have a mobile swipe machine, use the UPI app to make the payment. But be extra careful while using it, since it is linked to your bank account.
Accept requests only from verified merchants, as accepting a UPI money request is a debit from your account. Also never share the PIN or OTP numbers. Don’t share the SMS received as verification, as that too contains details such as your account number.
Never disclose your passwords to anyone who is claiming to be an official representative of the bank or any third-party app. Always remember that your bank will never ask for your personal security details like UPI PIN, OTP or debit card details like card number, expiry date and CVV. Please do not share such confidential data to anyone under any circumstance.
Please be aware of any spam warnings raised by your UPI app whenever you receive a payment request from an unknown account. Please make sure to block such requests by clicking the "Block and report as spam" option.
While using your debit/credit card online ensure that the website or app is a known one and verified one. The website link should be a secured one (indicated through a lock symbol) and the app should be verified by Google Play store or Apple store. If there is an option to use a virtual keyboard to key in the PIN, prefer that instead of the keyboard of your laptop/desktop. Never share the OTP when transacting online. Save all emails and SMSs regarding your transactions so that you have proof in case you need to raise a dispute over a fraudulent transaction.
You may have received information about essential service delivery providers, such as vegetables, milk, asking you to click a link or download the app. But before you do so make sure it is a genuine one. Click such links or download such apps only if you have received it from a known source. Avoid it if it is from an unknown source as it could be a ploy to gain access to your mobile phone and access your details such as bank account number, email, etc.
When working from home ensure your private Wi Fi is secured with a password since you will be connecting it to your office’s intranet system. Change the password regularly. Always lock your laptop and log out when not using it, especially if you have sensitive documents need for work.
Information on investment tips or hot stocks is also commonly shared during times when the equity market is witnessing extreme volatility. Avoid investing or trading on such tips. Make sure to read up about the company and its financials before investing. Avoid investing in unknown companies merely because the stock price is low.
The author is the Head of Digital Banking, Axis Bank