How to spot a fraud deal

Dhananjay Ganjoo, who works with a cybersecurity company, says it’s always safer to make purchases from a company’s website than via links received over emails or SMSes.
Last Updated 28 February 2024, 00:06 IST

A Bengaluru woman recently lost around Rs 48,000 to a scam when she tried to purchase four dozen eggs for Rs 49 online. She had received the discount offer via an email and the link required her to enter credit card details.  DH Metrolife asked cybersecurity experts about how one can tell fake offers from genuine ones.

Shop via websites

Dhananjay Ganjoo, who works with a cybersecurity company, says it’s always safer to make purchases from a company’s website than via links received over emails or SMSes. One should be wary of email offers that come with messages like ‘a coupon will expire in a couple of hours’ or if the deal simply looks too good to be true, he says.

To check whether an email is from a genuine source or not, look at the sender details. Ganjoo explains, “Hover your mouse over the sender’s email ID and check if it bears the company’s name or some random name.”

Check website authenticity

Even if email IDs look genuine, one should proceed with caution. Keep an eye out on the websites these links lead you to. These must be secure. “Look for https at the beginning of a URL,” says Guruprasad V, associate member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners USA.

Run a basic check on the website. If it lacks information such as sellers’ address, contact details, and refund and return policies, it could be a spurious platform, adds the fraud prevention expert.

Furthermore, during a transaction, if your browser displays a security warning, do not ignore it. “Modern browsers are fairly good at flagging these warnings,” says Kiran Jonnalagadda, co-founder of software company Hasgeek.

Update your phone

Jonnalagadda recommends buying a new smartphone if your existing phone is not receiving timely updates. “The phone should offer an update every other month. If it’s more than a couple of months since the last update, the phone’s security should be considered weak,” he explains.

Double check bill 

Jonnalagadda asks people to keep an eye on the billing amount at every step of a card payment. It should be the same and not slyly change from Rs 1,400 to Rs 14,000, for example. Since banks outsource the OTP verification part of a card transaction, he fears that it will be hard for a layman to identify a legitimate screen to enter the OTP in from a fraudulent one.

Guruprasad concurs and says one should not rush to enter your card details. Get a family member or another person to crosscheck all the details if you are doubtful, he advises.

Duped? Do this

*Call your bank and alert them. Ask them to block your card. 

*Call the Cyber Crime helpline number 1930.

*You can register a complaint on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal.

(Published 28 February 2024, 00:06 IST)

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