21st century the era of internet, mobile phones, i-pads, laptops, desktops, have made everything available to us, on our fingertips. Internet becoming a common part of daily life, has made it simpler for fraudsters to reach out to millions of potential victims, at minimal cost. It should be of no surprise that fraudsters have made cyberspace a prime hunting ground.
- Fraud: is an intentional act of deception involving financial transactions for purpose of personal gain. Fraud is a crime and is also a civil law violation.
Fraudsters target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. Fake lotteries, advance-fee frauds, get-rich-quick schemes and internet investment schemes are some of the favored means of separating the unwary from their hard-earned savings. New varieties of these scams appear all the time. Despite the on-going awareness programs by the relevant authorities and media coverage, many are still knowingly or unknowingly falling prey to the activities of fraudsters.
- Following things shall be kept in mind to minimize chances of fraud:
- One shall make a detailed background check:
It is always crucial to check the background of the place where investment is being made. An investment decision shall never be made, before checking for past censures, pending investigations, or lawsuits and verified legitimate registration. To check the background of firms and advisors, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Ministry of Corporate affairs, ratings of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Forward Markets Commission (India) (FMC) etc, can be used. Even a simple Google check is also the best method for performing due diligence on investee.
- One shall limit exposure:
Even though, diversification of investment is the best and elementary method for avoiding being scammed, too much of investment in different entities is never a good option. The more you invest in different entities, you become more prone to the fraudsters. One should always analyze the risks and know the intermediaries associated with investment. Rather than, only focusing on great returns and profit “More the greed, greater the loss.”
- One shall secure one’s personal information:
The User IDs, passwords and PIN numbers are greatest property for everyone. This information allows you to access money and assets from your banks and investments. All such information is confidential and should be kept safe, and updated, on periodical basis. One should never reveal such sensitive financial information to any person or a business, not known. Such scammers may sometimes email or call you, claiming to be from a retail business, financial institution or government agency and will try to trick you into giving them your financial information with relation to credit card, bank account number, etc. One must always remember that, the banker, Credit Card Company or any retail business would never ask for the personal information. If any such suspicious call or email is received, one should always call the company or bank directly to check on the status of the account.
- One shall secure one’s personal gadgets:
Now a days everything is being carried out via mobile, computers, laptops, therefore it is crucial to keep all our software and virus protections updated, in order to reduce the risk of being a victim. The online banking, trading, and other transactions made on internet are popular space for fraudsters.
Few precautions can be adopted to help and ensure online security, for internet based transactions:
- Don’t click on unknown hyperlinks
- Always use tough-to-crack passwords
- Never give out social security number via email or on a website.
- Don’t shop with an unfamiliar online retailer.
- Don’t download software from pop-up windows.
- Think carefully before you click on a link or download an attachment.
- One shall always keep a track on one’s investments:
Investments always need regular care and attention, same as given to a growing child, in order to receive better and fruitful returns. In order to meet ones investment goals, one must keep a watch on Funds. Do everything to keep, all of them on track, such as:
- Review your monthly statements, carefully;
- Verify all withdrawals made;
- Check for excessive or unauthorized trading on your part.
In order to get rid and protect yourself from these scams and frauds, effective and severe checks, cautions, security and transparency is required. By following the above guidelines you can save yourself from becoming the victim of the common frauds.