Many are (still) under the impression that once you install a software or an app, it will take care of your device’s safety and security. To add to this, advertisements from a few anti-virus software companies are doing the rounds with claims to give you ‘peace of mind’ while doing online financial transactions. But this is just one side of the bigger, and complex, security issue. No doubt, there are some good software products which can help you remain safe from attacks of hackers or viruses or malware. However, they have their own limitations. No software or mobile app can protect you if you decide to bypass their security rings and visit (or click) an unknown URL or link. The same holds true when you download and install mobile apps from anywhere other than the official play stores. Even when you download ‘free’ apps from official sites, be mindful of how much information that app will ‘steal’ from your mobile device. Remember there are apps, like for battery-saving or mobile-boosting, that are more interested in reading your contact details or call logs. No software or apps developer will accept it; but your data and personal information is out there for exploitation or sale at a price, if you do not follow certain rules.
So, first, make yourself ‘fool’-proof by not revealing mobile numbers, credit or debit card number and its security code or any other personal detail related with your financials, especially over phone calls from beautiful voices. Remember, no regulator, like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), or even your bank, has the time to call individuals seeking personal data. Banks already have them and will never ask for it from the customer.
If you are a smartphone user, you can use mobile apps like TrueCaller to identify the caller and also block spam calls automatically. I know, such apps would get access to your phone data and may use it, but it also help you to

identify a spam caller.
Secondly, never ever click on any unfamiliar link received either through social media or chat programs or via email. Even if the link appears familiar, visit the original website and go to the linked page from there.
This brings us to our next point about web security. Do check the encryption level of the URL which you may be accessing, especially for financial transactions. There should be an additional ‘s’ in the address bar, like https. Also check for the lock icon in the address bar. This denotes the security level and should display the website’s security certificate after clicking on the lock icon.
Fourth, never, ever, share your mobile number or email ID in public forums. Funnily, there are people who believe in sharing entire email conversations, including email IDs, contact numbers in the comments on Moneylife’s website, and that too on articles that warn people about the same fraud. In one article, we wrote about how fraudsters are luring people under the pretext of offering lottery money in the name of RBI. However, despite the red flag, there are several people who keep posting the entire message received from such fraudsters. One reader has even posted an ‘affidavit’ and his bank details so that he can receive the lottery money from the scamsters!
Many also write their ‘secret’ code or PIN on a piece of paper and keep it next to the credit or debit card. Some smart people even write it on the reverse of the card. Forget about software or mobile apps, even the God cannot protect such people! You should create passwords and codes or PINs that are hard to guess but easy to remember (only for you).
So the next time you receive a call from a ‘beautiful voice’, ask the caller to send the request in writing, without revealing any of your personal details, including email ID or your address and disconnect the call. Also, do not forget to mark it as spam-caller or put it in your call/SMS blacklist.
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