Online banking transactions have gone up in India in recent times, precipitated by the pandemic and the lockdown that ensued. However, this has also meant a rise in the number of online frauds and phishing incidents. It is important that consumers take measures to ensure that online banking is safe and secure.

Here are tips you could follow to bank online in a secure manner:

  • This may seem obvious but it is almost always the simple things that we tend to ignore. Keep your account details private and don’t share them with anyone. Be on your guard when you receive bank account information requests through text or email, phone or social media channels from sources you don’t recognise. Unless it is a call you have placed to your local bank and it is a verified number, don’t offer any information with respect to your account. Remember that banks or other payment services never call or mail/text you asking for your PIN, CVV or OTP or ATM/card information.
  • Change your passwords often and use complex ones. This is again a seemingly simple step but most often we tend to ignore this. When you create a complex password, use combination of unique characters, and mix up uppercase and lowercase. Ideally, don’t repeat characters. Make use of !, @,# etc. in your passwords in association with the uppercase letter, lower case letters, a couple of digits and punctuation. Don’t have a long alphabetic sequence; i.e. of more than three characters and a digit sequence of more than two characters. So, you can have a password like this: $r1Pa;#3h. Avoid names of people, places or an easily recognisable sequence of letters or numbers on the keyboard. Also avoid reverse sequence of commonly known words or even anagrams. We tend to use the same password for all our accounts, leaving you vulnerable to data theft. Don’t store your passwords in your wallet or even a digital wallet or on your mobile.
  • Ensure that you keep track of your accounts constantly. Keep an eye on your bank statements every time your bank issues them and check them thoroughly. In fact, it is a good idea to check your bank account details every day and make sure your balance and all the withdrawals from your account are authentic and made by you. Any suspicious withdrawals or charges need to be brought to the notice of the bank immediately. Make sure to attend to all SMSs’ you receive from the bank immediately so you can identify suspicious transaction/s and take appropriate action quickly.
  • Don’t store any sensitive information in smartphone. This information could include identity details, bank account information, passwords or even answers to security questions. Any information that gives easy access to Bank Account should be kept away from your smartphones.
  • Only Use networks that you trust. Use private Wi-Fi or data plans from an authentic provider and ensure that it is secure. Avoid using public Wi-Fi that may not be secured for your online banking transactions as cyber thieves could make use of the loopholes and tap into your personal bank account information and hack into your account. Even if you use a public Wi-Fi, make sure to route it via a VPN or a virtual private network. A public Wi-Fi is best avoided unless absolutely necessary. Whatever network you use, ensure that you log out of your session once you are done with your transaction. Clear your browser cache or use a private browser for safety.
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  • It is best to avoid using public or shared devices. Use your own smart device or phone that is secure to use your bank account. Public computers could be infected and are easy to hack into. Even if you use a public or shared device, make sure you log out after use.
  • Notice that lock symbol on the bank website? Or have you checked if the address bar has https in the beginning? Ensure you keep an eye out for these two factors as they mean that your site is encrypted and your information is secure. Make sure you visit your Bank’s official website and bookmark it so that you don’t end up visiting a fake site. Do not use links provided by any third party to visit the Bank’s website; instead type in the bank’s web address in the browser.
  • If you wish to use bank’s app, download it only from authentic and authorised places like iTunes or Google Play Store. The bank’s app is secure and is available with the newest features for security and is a safe way to bank online. However be vigilant and don’t download the app from a random search on the Internet. If you download from a random website (not belonging to your bank), you may end up with an app that looks like your bank’s app but is not the official one.
  • Ensure you have multi-factor authentication. Most cyber theft can be nipped in the bud if you follow the two layers of security that your bank offers. Most banks offer multi factor authentication which means that each time you log in, the bank issues an email or a text with a verification code. You would need to key in this code along with your password and username. This helps secure your information and transactions.
  • Understand what phishing scams are, and learn to spot what’s not authentic. There isn’t a day when you don’t read a news report that talks of someone falling prey to online banking fraud and losing their money. Many attempts at phishing often seem like they come from authentic sources or links. However don’t click on links that are sent to you from unknown sources via mail or text. Look for ‘s’ at the end of https and don’t open a page unless it is encrypted. Think before you click on a message you receive via text, WhatsApp or email. Don’t respond to emails that say your account has been credited with Rs or $ XXX.
  • Ensure that you have an authentic antivirus software that can screen your mail and websites/pop-up ads so that any spurious website or email link is filtered and you receive an alert. Update your antivirus software as and when it is required.
  • You often receive notifications on your laptop or smart device to update your operating system. While this may feel irksome and you tend to procrastinate updating the OS, it is important that you do it on time because the updates make sure that your system is not affected by new malware attacks.

RBL Bank issues alerts and notifications to prevent fraud. Always seek your bank’s advice or feedback over any doubts you may have over online banking. Authentic and secured helplines are available on RBL Bank’s website to report any suspicious/fraudulent transactions/activities in your bank account. The Reserve Bank of India also issues alerts and notifications, so keep an eye on them (You can see one such alert here: Now that you know all about safety tips, put them into action.

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