Indian consumers are increasingly shopping online and tend to save personal payment-related information on digital platforms. While storing credit or debit card details online makes transactions convenient, it also poses a serious security threat.
While transacting online, consumers are exposed to several risks and frauds—identity theft, loss of money and financial data, and phishing scams (a fraudulent method of gathering information using deceptive emails and websites). According to Experian’s digital consumer insights survey, nearly 25% of Indian digital consumers have experienced fraud, the highest in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by those in Vietnam and Indonesia.
Digital safety measures
For starters, you must ensure that the Web portals from which you purchase products and avail of services are well-known and enjoy a good reputation. The online platform should have adequate data security provisions.
As a thumb rule, consumers must transact only via modes that offer end-to-end encryption since it prevents any third party from accessing the information being communicated to or stored by a Web portal. Users are more susceptible to being exposed to frauds if they use free public Wi-Fi. Unsecured networks make it easier for hackers to steal private information, such as credit card or bank details.
Simple measures, such as ensuring that the Internet browser connects to websites via secure protocols like the ‘https’, can go a long way in preventing third parties from gaining access to your private information. The ‘https’ protocol offers end-to-end encryption, where ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’. It is also essential that you take a few minutes to review the privacy and data-usage policies of the portal or app you are accessing, and understand how your personal data will be used, stored or shared by that digital platform. You must pay extra attention to your Wi-Fi network. Make use of all available security options, including router and network passwords, encryption and firewalls, to minimise the chances of someone hacking into your system. Regularly changing passwords of your Internet connection, and enabling two-factor authentication for apps and services that allow it, will boost cyber security. Finally, you must ensure that you download applications on your mobile devices only from established platforms—iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.
It is essential to stick to apps created by trustworthy players by checking their reviews and popularity. These simple measures can ensure that you do not become a victim of fraud, even as you continue to enjoy the benefits of digital transactions.
The author is Managing Director, Experian Credit Bureau and Country Head, Experian India