Decoding Online Banking Fraud Techniques

Decoding Online Banking Fraud Techniques

09 January, 2024

Cybercriminals have devised numerous ways to attempt and gain unauthorised access to your account. Any activity which seeks to exploit the online banking system against an individual constitutes fraud. You need to know how scammers conduct these frauds to prevent you from becoming a victim. In this article, we will cover not only the modes of fraud but also some essential tips that can prevent you from online banking scams.

Modes of Online banking fraud 

First, let’s help you understand how scammers operate. Over the years, cybercriminals have deployed multiple techniques to carry out fraud. Below are some of the standard modes in which they typically operate - 

  1. Phishing - You might receive an e-mail or SMS from the scammer impersonating your bank’s representative. Irrespective of the mode of communication, such messages will typically contain a link to a fake website looking similar to the bank’s original website.

    These fake websites or forms will ask you to provide your bank-related sensitive information to verify your profile. This information is then used against you. Scammers will now have access to your online banking platform and can make unauthorised transactions in their favour.

  2. Malware - You might have already heard that you shouldn’t click on links received from unknown senders. Scammers will send messages containing too-good-to-be-true offers or an urgent ask, followed by a link.

    Such links can contain malicious software, which can get installed on your device without your knowledge. This software can then steal all the sensitive information on your device. This gives scammers access to your data.

  3. Data breach - Large-scale data breaches expose the data of numerous individuals. Suppose you have stored your data with an organisation that has suffered a breach. Scammers can access your sensitive information and use it for fraudulent activities.

    For example, if you happen to keep the same passwords across websites, and a breach occurs at one of them. Scammers will now know that password and will use it to log in to your online banking profile.

  4. Public network or systems - Logging in to your accounts via a public network or system can expose your data to scammers. Scammers may have hacked a publicly available WiFi network or computer. Once you use a hacked network or system, whatever details you might enter on it can be read by scammers.

    Scammers also use keylogging software on publicly available systems. A keylogging software records your keystrokes, which can then be used to decipher your password.

  5. Customer support - Scammers can also try to call you as your bank’s representative. They will claim your account has been suspended / blocked and can be recovered. You will be asked to provide your details to verify your identity on the pretext of such claims.

    If you ever share your PIN, password or OTP with anyone, they can wipe your hard-earned money from your account in a few minutes!

Helpful tips to save yourself from online banking fraud

Protecting yourself from online banking fraud can be easy if you are vigilant. The following are some easy-to-follow tips that you can inculcate -

  1. Cautious approach - Just by staying a little sceptical and careful, you can reduce the chances of becoming a fraud victim. If you ever receive any call or e-mail claiming to be your bank’s representative, try verifying their identity. Check if the domain name is accurate before clicking on any unsolicited e-mail or link.

    On getting any urgent actionable, you should be extremely cautious. Call the official customer care number or visit the branch to validate the authenticity of such actionables. Do not be driven by rush or fear while dealing with your financials!

  2. Strong passwords - Always keep different passwords for your banking information. Using the same or an easy-to-guess password will always put you at risk of being hacked. Under no circumstances should you share your password, PIN or OTP with anyone.

    If someone asks you for such information, immediately bring that matter to the authorities and do not continue that conversation.

  3. Device management - You should always login into your online banking account via your trusted devices and network. This way, you can prevent giving someone else access to your data.

  4. Official channels - If you ever need to contact your bank’s customer support, do it only via the official channels. Such information is typically available in your welcome kit or on your bank's verified social media accounts.

    Contacting any unofficial number or unverified social media page can expose you to scammers. Always try to find your bank's official contact details and save them with you for future reference.

Stay aware - It is essential to stay mindful of the latest techniques used by scammers. You can do this by using HDFC Bank Vigil Aunty. She will help you understand recent scam techniques and how to save yourself from them!

​​​​​​​*Terms and conditions apply. The information provided in this article is generic in nature and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances.

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