Things Senior Citizens Should Consider While Making Online Transactions
Written by Salil Mitra - Khyaal Content Community Member
With the growing popularity of the internet, you can get everything from shopping to banking just by going online. It is a great convenience to use the internet as there is no need to step out of your house. However, fraudsters try to dupe seniors while making online transactions, but that should not deter you from enjoying the perks of the digital world.
You must have heard of numerous stories where people lost their hard-earned money in online scams. Seniors are more prone to these incidents, so it's important to be aware of the possible threats and learn ways to mitigate risks.
In this article, we are going to talk about the various risks associated with online transactions and some vital tips that seniors should follow to stay safe while making online transactions. Most of these are general security measures, but following them is necessary to ensure every payment you make is secure.
Risks associated with online transactions:
Phishing scams are one of the most dangerous forms of internet fraud. These scams are designed to trick you into providing your account details to cybercriminals.
The scammers create fake websites, SMS, emails, links and apps that look genuine. They ask you to fill in details like date of birth, Aadhar details, phone number, credit card details, and password information.
Other common hooks that fraudsters use in phishing include:
Clicking on an attachment
Updating a password
Downloading a file
Responding to a connection request on social media
Using a new Wi-Fi hotspot
Fake online shops
They create fake online shopping websites with fake listings, and the moment you enter your payment information, they get the power to hack your data. In some cases, they even carry out illegal transactions using your account and credentials.
So, whenever you come across an unknown shopping website with ridiculously low prices, be cautious!
Malware is software designed to damage your computer system and steal your valuable data usually for financial gain. This harmful software is installed in a person’s system unknowingly and this allows hackers to access all information on the system.
Malware attacks can appear on all types of devices and operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS and macOS.
How to stay more secure while making online transactions?
Keeping your online transactions safe is easier than you think. Here are a few simple tips to carry out secured online transactions:
A password secures each and every element of your digital account. So, when you use easy-to-assume passwords, your online account comes under threat. Unscrupulous people might try to hack your account and steal your money.
While setting up your password, there are a few key points you must keep in mind:
Never share your password with anyone
Do not use easy to guess passwords, such as your date of birth, phone number, name, etc…
Avoid the use of the same password for different accounts
Make your password complex - add both capital & small letters, numerals, and signs
Be mindful of scams, as your banking service provider will never ask for your pin, password, or personal information
Change passwords as frequently as possible
When you follow these tips, your digital accounts and online transactions will be secure. Nonetheless, if you notice any discrepancy in your transactions, immediately contact your bank.
Don't click on suspicious links
Scammers will try to make you fall into their traps by sending messages and emails with suspicious links. If you receive email communication that claims to be from your bank facility or credit card provider, cross-check the email address to ensure whether it's genuine or not. Moreover, refrain from clicking on any link sent from an unknown source.
OTP or one-time password is a security measure that keeps your digital transactions safe. You get a single-use password sent to your mobile number to complete an online payment.
If you get an OTP out of nowhere, take notice and let the bank know. Moreover, if you get any unknown calls or messages asking for your OTP, never give them any information, and report the issue to the bank or your local cyber crime department.
Whenever you're visiting a website and making an online transaction, make sure the website starts with "https://". This is the marker of a safe website, where your information is secure.
Use only authorised payment apps
If you make payments through apps via UPI, make sure you're using a reputed app downloaded from Android or Apple Play Store. PayPal, Google Pay, Paytm, and Amazon Pay are some of the most popular and reliable applications.
You can detect a malicious payment app by checking user reviews on Play Store and cross-checking whether it has a verification badge or not.
Online shopping has made life convenient for sure, especially when it comes to the elderly. If you're a senior and you shop online quite often, it's in your hands to keep your payment information, personal information, and transactions safe.
Following are tips for a safe online shopping experience:
Do not save your credit or debit card information
Make sure you log out after making payments
Do not auto-save passwords
Do not use any authentic information if you're asked to set up a security question
Don't use public wifi
Different kinds of fraudulent activities can stem from public wifi. When you visit a cafe, restaurant, or airport, you might want to use their wifi connections. But, you must remember that public wifi is not safe for making online transactions. Do not enter your personal information, credit or debit card details, or OTP while using public wifi. If you have to make an online payment, use your own phone's data, and also make sure you hide your password and other sensitive information while typing them out.
Update your browser
To make your digital environment safe, update your browser frequently to make sure you're using the latest version. The older versions might attract security threats, which can, in turn, lead to risky transactions.
If you frequently make online payments, it's a good idea to keep a tab of all the websites, apps and merchants you're paying to. This way, if any fishy transactions take place, you'll be able to detect and report them right away.
Whether you're using your laptop or mobile phone, having an antivirus installed is a must. The antivirus software analyses your device and takes necessary action to mitigate security threats and malware. This software automatically blocks suspicious websites and keeps you alert.
What to do if your credit/debit card or online account is hacked?
When hackers have access to your credit or debit card credentials, or your online account, they can use your account to make unauthorised transactions. If you suddenly notice suspicious activities in your account, there could be a possibility that your credit or debit card has been hacked. If you experience any such situation, do the following:
Check your recent bank statements
Your bank statements should be available to you online, but you can also visit your bank to get a physical copy of your recent transactions. Examine the transactions closely and check if there's any payment that was not initiated by you.
Contact your bank or report an unauthorised charge
If you use a credit card, you can report an unauthorised charge to your service provider. And for debit cards, report the issue to your bank, which will be able to track down the transaction and hopefully help you out.
Immediately change your debit or credit card pin, or in the case of your online account, the password. Create a new password that's difficult to guess, and make sure you don't share it with anyone under any circumstances.
Online transactions are very common in recent times, but it's impossible to ignore the security risks associated with them. Everyone can fall prey to these attacks, but as a senior, you must always be extra careful so that your data and valuable digital assets remain in safe hands.
Understand the threats, and follow the steps mentioned above to make your next online payment fully secure and risk-free.