As the world is in lockdown and staying behind closed doors, there are few very essential services operational currently. With shut businesses, travel banks, increasing work from home and online learning culture, travel Lockdown extension at several places is triggering desperation among the people to get out of their houses and start their normal lives.
New Zealand and AU Looking to Ease Restriction
Currently, New Zealand is undergoing alert level 4 of the lockdown where online shopping and delivery services for non-essential items has been banned. New Zealand plans to implement ease in lockdown terms, moving to alert level three effective Monday mid-night where bans on several areas shall be lifted, while many restrictions shall remain in place.
Besides, AU Prime Minister Mr Scott Morrison is planning on easing few containment restrictions, while ministry is framing guidelines/policies on phased opening of the economy.
For online shoppers, it has been a month of no shopping at all with e-commerce limited to essential items only. Now that restrictions are looking to ease; we might witness a strong surge in the online shopping for non-essential items.
More Risk of Frauds With Easing Restrictions
With the world is slowly lifting lockdown restrictions and resuming online shopping of non-essential items, you might just be on the radar of online scammers and fraudsters. Ignorant people are highly vulnerable and at a major risk of encountering such scams and frauds while shopping online.
Shoppers might be lured with the convincing offers provided on fake shopping websites, cloned websites of well-known brands, phishing emails and SMS, illegal tax saving schemes and much more in current times of desperations.
Generally, these kinds of convincing attempts by the fraudsters and scammers steal away the information of your credit card or bank account and can easily access your money.
Would you really want to give away your money in a fraudulent attempt when you least expect this to happen?
We believe, No! We all need money to survive and navigate through current times of low liquidity and financial crunch. Moreover, the risk of job losses and disruption to income chain is likely to further add to financial woes of businesses and households.
Several kinds of scams that surface in the online space include the following:
- Investment opportunity scams
- Cold calling scams
- Business email compromise
- Employment or work-at-home scams
- Romance scams
In such times of contracting earnings and spending, losing money in scams would be the last thing anyone would expect. So, let us first get to know how these scams surface.
How do Incidents of Fraud Occur?
Since fraudsters are always looking for new as well as most genuine sounding ways of doing scams, they use a variety of ways to trick people into passing over their personal information like date of birth, address, driver’s licence and passport details, as well as bank statements. As soon as they get your bank account number, login details, or secured credentials, they can easily access your identity and your money.
Generally, authentic organisations do not tend to ask for such details from their customers or even layman. However, anyone who asks for this kind of information from you will likely be trying to scam you.
To sound more convincing, fraudsters might pretend to be a representative of your bank, a government agency, a retailer, or someone you trust and call you for providing luring offers. The kind of disciplined language they use is very similar to the actual personnel of the banks, or other organizations making it less obvious to think it is a fraudulent call.
Besides, one needs to be wary of email phishing, cybercrime and accounts hacking by unscrupulous elements. Shoppers need to be extra careful while entering credentials on fraud e-commerce sites.
Hence, let us be aware of such unwanted attempts and take responsibility to ensure that we do not fall into such misleading attempts.
Few Steps to Avoid Online Frauds
With few things to keep in mind, anyone and everyone can avoid falling into such traps and be safe. Few tips to consider are as follows:
- Look out for emails from people or companies that you may not know or heard of.
- Check the sender of the email as fraudsters may disguise their identity.
- Never click on links in any suspicious-looking emails or reply to the same.
- Only share your personal information with trustworthy stakeholders as well as organisations.
- Attempt banking on secure websites marked with a padlock symbol in the address bar.
- Consider typing the address for internet banking and avoid clicking on email links.
- Beware to not share your login details or password with anyone you don’t know.
- For those using laptops and computers for online services, Keep the security software of your machine up to date.
- Avoid using public computers & WiFi for internet banking and related transactions.
What are Banks Doing on This Front?
The service motive of banks has always centred around the strategy of providing safety and security to their customers’ money. The banks have implemented several measures to secure your personal information as well as money in your account. Not only this, but banks have also been educating their customers about the potential frauds and scams to keep away from.
As online transactions have had a turnaround, banks have been trying to stay a step ahead in securing its customers. Tracing the upcoming activities of scammers in advance is a huge challenge for banks; however, there are chances that your information can be secured against the potential harm from already surfacing scams in the market.
Banks can recognise any suspected fraudulent activity with your account and may contact you regarding the same. Moreover, a temporary freeze of your internet banking services can also be considered to prevent further fraudulent transactions.
Importantly, for such activities too, the bank shall not ask for your login details and passwords.
Every individual should feel responsible enough to report any sort of mischief that he/she comes across during his/her online shopping and online transactions to the e-commerce sites, banks and concerned authorities.
At a time when severe uncertainty is fuelling anxiety in the general public, especially the ones that are at risk of losing jobs and businesses, hackers and scammers are in the play to draw advantage from the fumbling public. The general public might not be aware of such unscrupulous activities in the market.
Governments, regulatory bodies, as well as banks, are taking prudent measures to keep the people safe from the deadly coronavirus as well as from the online scams in current uncertain times. A strict vigilance from these authentic bodies as well as individuals can help to tackle such unwanted scams in times when we expect them the least.