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Identity Theft- How to Protect your Bank Account

If you log in to the website of State Bank of India, you will notice this message there — “SBI never asks for confidential information such as PIN and OTP from customers. Any such call can be made only by a fraudster. Please do not share personal info.” The fact is SBI is not the only bank which has been educating their customers about the dangers of phishing, voice phishing and other scams. Many other banks and financial institutions have also been doing this through e-mails and SMS alerts for a long time. Still, hundreds of people are still falling prey to such things and realise their folly after losing their hard-earned money to fraudsters.

According to HDFC Bank, a fraud could leave you without any funds in a matter of minutes. Therefore, stay protected from identity thefts. Identity theft, in fact, occurs when someone wrongfully uses your personal information to obtain credit, loans and services in your name.

How do fraudsters operate?

# Fraudsters try to gather a customer’s details through Phishing, Vishing, Smishing or any other means. Phishing has been around since the advent of the internet and identity thieves can use this to trick unsuspecting individuals to disclose sensitive information. Phishing attempts will usually direct you to reward or coupon sites where you may be asked for personal information or creating an identity. Phishing can also be performed via telephone where the person could call you under the guise of being a representative of a bank or some other organization you trust. Vishing or voice phishing is the practice whereby fraudsters gain access to your personal information using a voice call.

# Fraudsters also call customers and try to collect details by posing as a bank staff.

# Fraudsters may visit you with a fake card and swap it with your live card, without your knowledge.

# Data you post to social media accounts and consumer forums is also a goldmine of information for potential identity thieves.

Here’s how to protect yourself from Identity Theft:

# Remember, your bank never calls you for personal details, like mother’s name, PIN number, or password Any such e-mail/SMS or phone call is an attempt to fraudulently withdraw money from your account through Internet Banking. Never respond to such email/SMS or phone call.

# Never share your personal information with a stranger or any third party, posing as bank representative, insurance agent or someone else.

# Don’t carry any piece of paper holding details of your identity. If you are likely to forget any password or PIN number, then keep it at your home at a safe place so that you can see it whenever needed.

# Beware of phishing emails that prompt you towards free subscriptions where you have to simply create a login ID and password.

# Update your bank records whenever you change your contact numbers, address or email ID. This will help your bank send an instant alert to you in case something happens.

# Opt for the SMS alert service provided by your bank even if you are charged for it.

# Change your account passwords regularly.

# Whenever in doubt, call your bank immediately.

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