Phishing, Vishing

Phishing, Vishing

Be assured, your bank will never ask for your passwords or any other personal detail via email or telephone

Incredible! But true. Technology has changed our vocabulary in the last few years. Not only do we have new words, but old terms have been given entirely new meanings. Precisely, technology has emerged as a major force in reshaping our vocabulary and has changed the way we use language, communicate and express ourselves.

Look how far we have come. Today technology has a definite impact on the way we conduct everything in life. Let me point out the way we used to do businesses in the ‘good old days’. Trips were regularly made to banks. Prior to integration of technology into the operations of banking system, ledger books, cheques, pay-in-slips, cash withdrawal slips etc. were pillars of a financial transaction at a bank branch. Transactions in cash were heavy and actually carried by the customers from bank to bank.

Today, systems and procedures for conducting business have changed. Who could have imagined to operate bank account on the move without physically going to the bank branch? Now, financial transactions are largely conducted without going to a bank branch. Purchases are made without having cash in wallet and the mode of money to change hands through a leaf of cheque is fast surrendering to the electronic mode of funds transfer like Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT). You can sit at home and at a click of a button you can conduct transactions in your account without the intervention of bank staff. 

For all this, cell phones, laptops, ipads and other latest technology gadgets having Internet connectivity is a must. The good thing is that these technology tools are fast invading human race irrespective of cast, creed and colour. Also geographical location is immaterial. 

In e-banking words like phishing and vishing are most commonly used terms in the modern banking practices. Basically these terms relate to the modus operandi of unidentified internet users who steal identity of gullible bank accountholders. So, in the backdrop of modern banking practices it makes a sense to take a close look at the technology-driven subversive activities through phishing and vishing. 

Phishing uses pre-text technique to acquire information about banking transaction details, username, password etc. This information is then misused by the fraudster to carry on fraudulent financial activities. The fraudster uses pieces of known information like date of birth, PAN, account number etc for impersonation. Vishing, which is equivalent of phishing, involves a fraudster making a phone call posing as a bank representative and persuading victims to reveal financial information or use their card readers to authorise payments online. It is a new form of cyber fraud growing at tremendous pace. 

While people may have learned to be suspicious of phishing scams that involve solicitations for personal financial information directly over the internet, they are still easily persuaded to divulge that information when called directly or when an email instructs them to call a specific number. 

However, there are certain basic things which only you can take care to avoid being victimised. Now passwords and personal identification numbers are keys of your accounts and financial transactions. In fact, these numbers have become your identity. Whosoever punches these numbers will get through a transaction. So safety of these numbers lies in your hands because you only know them.

Meanwhile, there is no denying the fact that the criminals use multiple access points for committing a fraud, but a strong customer identification process at the front door of financial world will significantly check financial frauds. Precisely, a proper customer identity verification mechanism at a bank will not only help to check phishing and vishing attacks but will also prove beneficial to track down a fraudster quickly as and when he triggers a fraud.

(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)