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By 23 November 2021 | Categories: news

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Anupam Pahuja, VP, India, SEA, Middle East, and Africa at Paypal shares how consumers can keep themselves safe this festive season. 

With the onset of the pandemic, we have seen increased adoption of digital payments and with that an increase in the instances of fraud. Fraudsters have become smarter and are using sophisticated methods to exploit vulnerabilities. Hence the need to manage security and build trust to enable sustainable growth in the sector is of paramount importance. 

Passwords

Industry statistics show that people use the same password across platforms and tend to use three or four passwords for all accounts. Lack of strong passwords makes consumers more vulnerable to malware, phishing and identity theft. Consumers also need to avoid using passwords which are based on information found on social media - a pet’s name, children’s names, favorite football team, your name, birthday, driver’s license numbers or phone numbers.  

Fake, fraudulent, spoof or phishing emails

Phishing is a form of social engineering that attempts to steal sensitive information by posing as a legitimate institution.  The attacker’s goal is to compromise systems to obtain usernames, passwords, and other account or financial data. Here are a few guidelines that can help you spot the real from the fake. 

  • Impersonal, generic greetings are used, such as “Dear user” or “Dear [your email address]: Your providers have your details and will address you by your name. 

  • Ask you for personal information: Reputable businesses will never ask you to provide your password, credit card number, bank account number, driver’s license number, identity number, email or full name through a text message or email.

  • Ask you to click on links that take you to a fake website: If there's a link in an email, always check it before you click. A link could look perfectly safe, for example, www.paypal.com/SpecialOffers. Make sure to move your mouse over the link to see the true destination. By simply visiting a bad website a consumer can be made vulnerable.  

  • Contains unknown attachments Some attachments contain viruses that install themselves when opened.

  • Convey a false sense of urgency: Phishing emails are often alarmist, warning you that your account needs to be updated immediately. Consumers tend to fall for this sense of urgency.  It is recommended that you call your service provider before responding.  Do not click any links in the email as they will be fake. If you want to check, open a new browser window and type in the provider’s website address from scratch, then login and check. 

If it sounds too good to be true...

With increased adoption of ecommerce, fraudsters are constantly looking at luring consumers with good deals and offers. If a deal looks too good to be true, it likely is. Do a comparative search for equivalent deals and the prices to get an idea of what’s real/ look up the merchant name on sites like Hello Peter, and try to find out information about them such as how long they have been in business, and how other consumers have rated their services etc. 

Fraud keeps evolving and fraudsters continue to become more sophisticated using smishing - phishing using text messages - and AI-powered cyberattacks which use programs that mimic known human behaviors to trick people into giving up their personal or financial information. These behaviors can bypass traditional fraud checks that companies may have.  Consumer awareness is the first and most important step to reduce fraud. 

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