Safe banking practices for Customers

The way the banking sector is working has completely transformed and constantly improving with the latest advancements in technology. Where on one hand, the Customers have the convenience of availing services from the comfort of their home, on the other, there has been a rise in cybercrimes and leaking of digital information. The fraud practices and crimes in the banking sector are always on the rise due to the critical information involved. However, 100% security implementation cannot be possible with an equal contribution from its Customers.
So here is a list of a few tips for safe banking practices that can help customers proactively protect their assets and subsequently lower the loss risk. Mind you, fraudsters are getting smarter and believable in their overall approach. Therefore, never reply to such mails, letters, and calls. After all, prevention is better than cure! The internet and technology are a boon, but it is important to be prudent in the way you use it to transact safely.
This is a common fraudulent practice of tele-operators calling you on behalf of the Bank. These callers build trust and gain confidential information from the users to elicit personal and/or financial information with an intention to deceive you. Often, such a swindler may use a strategy to create fear or anxiousness to extract vital information.
Action : NEVER entertain calls or messages soliciting personal and/or financial information. In an instance you do get such a call, do report to the appropriate authorities immediately, and seek necessary help.
Please note: Banks NEVER ask for sensitive information on calls.
B. Phishing
These are emails claiming to be from authorised channels asking you to reveal personal and/or financial information. This communication might appear to be from legitimate sources but are not. They have been shrewdly designed impersonating the Bank mail design and appearance. They may even have a similar looking website. If and when you visit the site and enter your personal and/or financial details, these phishers gain access to your confidential information.
Action : NEVER login to any suspicious looking link through an email out of the blue asking for personal and/or financial information. Ensure you delete the mail immediately. In case you do log in, report the same to the helpline numbers of the bank immediately to safeguard you account.
Please note: Banks NEVER ask for sensitive information on emails.
C. Skimming
This is an act of stealing information through the magnetic strip on the cards that used at ATMs and merchant establishments. Skimmers use a small device that stores information contained in this magnetic trip. A tiny strategically positioned camera could be used to capture your PIN.
Action : Be careful while entering the PIN while using your ATM/debit/ credit cards when transacting at all places, especially at an unfamiliar place. Beware, skimming can happen even in legit transactions. If a transaction is unsuccessful, cross check personally that the transaction has been cancelled and if you have received a message of debit to your account.
Please note: You may receive a call from your Bank in case you have used the card for larger than usual transactions. You may also receive a confirmatory mail from the Bank confirming the transaction by swiping the card.
D. Trojan
This is a virus attack that usually enters your computer/ mobile system though unknown e-mails, or while browsing the internet and downloading from unsecured websites. A Trojan attack can do multiple harmful things like identifying passwords, commit data theft, spying or tracking user activity, to even crashing your computer.
Action: Be watchful about who the sender of any unusual mail is. Open only these mails with subject line known to you. Do not download files from unsecured websites.
Please note: Please refer to authorized or official banking apps/ websites only. Also, make sure to install the apps from trusted sources only like Google PlayStore or Apple iStore only.
All official banking applications are always safe and come with inbuilt security features for doing all of your banking transactions. Never trust any unknown sources for installing Android .apk or Apple .ipa files directly on your smartphones.
E. Money-mules
These announce that you have won a surprise gift/ holiday/ huge sum award, or disbursal of loans at cheap rates or that you can earn additional income easily through an e-mailer, pop-up window, or a telephone call. They are luring, but more than often a scam. Their sole purpose is to obtain your confidential information.
Action: Do NOT access such mails where you have not applied for any loan or participated in any contest to win prize monies or gifts. Do not share any personal information on any call or download any app or cooperate to give any OTP.
Please Note: Money mules may share copies of certificate/deposit receipts purported to have been issued by the Reserve Bank. RBI does maintain names of individuals / companies / trusts in India to hold funds for disbursal. In fact, the central bank warns you to be cautious of such offers.
Here are some tips for safe banking…
Important tips for Internet Banking:
  • Avoid using internet banking on shared computers and public places like cafés, libraries, etc.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi while transacting.
  • Never disclose your login passwords/Net Secure Codes to anyone.
  • Do not reveal your account information to telemarketer or tele-callers.
  • Never reply to emails that request personal and financial information.
  • Ensure that you password in an alphanumeric in combination of capital and small letter and include special characters to make it strong as far as possible.
  • Do not write your password or PIN on your card or on a chit and store in your wallet.
  • Make it a point to change your internet banking password regularly.
  • Every time you complete your online banking session, log out and then shutdown.
  • Always check for the last login to your internet banking account.
  • Install firewall and updated anti-virus software and keep updating to help detect and disable malicious software.
  • Disable the ‘Auto Complete’ function on your browser.
  • Ensure that the website is secured. Check for the green padlock in the URL and a valid SSL certificate.
  • Get your mobile number registered with the bank for real-time updates on your bank account.
  • Do online money transfers personally
Important tips for Mobile Banking:
  • Make sure you are using the official mobile banking app downloaded from the Google PlayStore or Apple iStore only.
  • Set a mPIN/password which are strong and keep changing them regularly.
  • If your mobile phone is at the service or repair centre, clear the browsing history, temp files, cache, block your mobile app.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi to transact and disable Bluetooth and GPS feature of smartphone.
  • Do not save confidential information, viz. PINs, passwords, account numbers, CVV (Card Verification Value) numbers on your smartphone.
  • Do not part with confidential information via text messages or emails.
  • Disable auto-fill and avoid selecting the ‘REMEMBER PASSWORD’ option.
  • Log-off after using the mobile banking app instead of merely closing it.
  • Register/update your mobile number and e-mail ID for alerts and tracking.
  • Update your mobile app with a security feature to filter bugs.
  • Ensure the operating system and the browsers of your smartphone are updated.
  • Do not leave smartphones unattended.
  • Passcode protect your phone efficiently.
Important Tips for Phone banking:
  • When speaking to a phone-banking officer, never disclose confidential information verbally. Key-in the details, viz. 4-digit ATM/IVR PIN, 6-digit 3D secure PIN, OTP password, Internet Banking password, CVV, etc., using the IVR for validation purpose.
  • Ensure that no one sees you enter the needed confidential details.
  • Avoid sharing verification details to the phone banking officer.
  • Phone Banking channel is meant to be used by the account holder only.
  • Do not hand your phone over to a third party once self-authentication is complete.
Important Tips for ATM banking: 
  • Never write your ATM PIN on ATM-cum-debit card.
  • Memorise your ATM PIN instead. Change it frequently.
  • Do not part your ATM PIN or card with anyone.
  • Keep your card at a secured place to avoid damage or theft.
  • Ensure you are on your own when using the ATM.
  • Do not seek assistance from strangers.
  • If you have requested a transaction slip, make sure you take it with you.
  • If your card is stuck or has not been dispensed, intimate your bank immediately.
  • Report lost or stolen card immediately on the helpline numbers or over email.
  • After you finish transacting through an ATM, do not forget to press the ‘cancel’ button.
Important Tips for using debit-cum-ATM cards:
  • As soon as you receive the consignment of your card, check if your name is spelt correctly, and in case of any error, inform the issuing bank immediately.
  • If applied for add-on card/s absent in the same consignment, inform the issuing bank immediately.
  • Sign at the back of the card/s immediately
  • Make sure the cards are kept appropriately at a safe place, where you can see in case it’s missing
  • When you use the cards at merchandise or online, do not let anyone see while you enter the PIN.
  • Ensure that the card is swiped in your presence and not swiped on multiple devices.
  • Ensure that your card number, card-expiry date, and the three-digit CVV number are not captured in writing anywhere.
  • Draw lines through the extra space on the merchant’s receipt, to avoid additional charges or amounts.
  • After transacting at merchandise outlet/restaurants, ensure the card you that has been returned to you is indeed yours.
  • Check your receipts against the card statements.
  • While using a smartphone and/or laptop to make card payments make sure the firewalls, there’s an anti-virus software running and avoid using public Wi-Fi. Ensure the website is secured with a green padlock in the URL and has a valid SSL certificate.
  • Get your mobile number registered with the bank to get real-time alerts.
  • Keep reviewing your account regularly, do it online or over the phone. Report irregularities immediately.
  • If your postal address has changed, make it a point to notify the issuing bank so that your card statements don’t land up in wrong hands.
  • Never answer emails or call seeking your card details.
  • Never give a photocopy of the back of your card to anyone for any reason, even if it is an application for new debit card.
  • Do not use replaced card before the primary card is blocked.
  • Destroy expired card/s by cutting into 4 pieces, statements and transaction slips into multiple pieces before disposing.
Important Tips while availing Loans and Investing: 
  • Ask for a proof of identity of the bank executive whom you are dealing with.
  • Do not sign on any blank application form.
  • Avoid parting with your original documents with the bank executive.
  • Ensure you get proper acknowledgements and notification of your application for loans and investments and all submitted documents.
  • After submitting your documents, if you decide not to avail a loan or invest inform the bank immediately.
  • If any cheque is issued for charges or fees, please issue them in favour of your bank, and not in the name of any individual. Do not make cash payments.
  • When you invest ensure you always deal with SEBI registered or authorised intermediaries.
  • Ensure firewalls, anti-virus software is active on your device, and transact only on secured websites with a green padlock in the URL and a valid SSL certificate.
  • Make sure you check your loan and investment statements regularly. In case there are discrepancies, bring it to notice.
The above tips for safe banking have been shared for general awareness purpose and knowledge. The Bank shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for his/her actions while online banking or taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information shared herein. The ways of frauds and scams are getting sophisticated and technologically advanced by the day, hence more strict precautions and the Customer’s discretion and cognizance is advised for every online transaction.
It is pertinent to remember that while you bank smartly, also remember to do it safe, because with critical information shared, you are also exposed to risk.
Happy Banking!