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How Banks Are Tackling Cyber Frauds

By Subrata Panda
September 14, 2022 09:39 IST
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From launching campaigns like 'RahoCyberSafe' and 'Vigil Aunty' to urging their customers to buy retail cyber insurance policies, banks are taking various measures to encourage safe habits at a time when banking has shifted largely online and vulnerability to cybercrimes has gone up (see box).

A host of private sector general insurers, including ICICI Lombard General Insurance and HDFC Ergo General Insurance, are offering individual cyber insurance policies, which, among many other things, cover any direct financial loss resulting from a transaction not made/authorised by the customer.

The coverage under the individual cyber insurance also includes identity theft, social media liability, malware attack, phishing, data breach by the third party, etc.

It also covers counselling services in many cases where a victim goes through an emotional setback due to identity theft or data breach or even cyberbullying.

A shift in the way people bank has necessitated these measures.

While digital banking has become a boon for customers as far as convenience goes, it has also led to a rise in cyber frauds.

These are not high-tech frauds or happen due to any gaps. Rather, these unscrupulous activities are done simply by manipulating people so that they give up confidential banking information like card number, CVV, expiry date, OTP, PIN etc.

To educate customers on the modus operandi of financial fraudsters and share inputs on safe banking habits, banks are now coming up with awareness campaigns aimed at preventing customers from falling into the trap of fraudsters.

The Reserve Bank of India, for instance, runs various campaigns to educate customers on safe banking habits.

In 2020, six months after the pandemic struck and digital became largely the way of banking, it roped in Amitabh Bachchan to tell people about safe banking habits via social media.

Axis Bank, too, has launched similar awareness campaigns.

"With an aim to reach out to maximum number of customers, we use various touch points such as Web site, Internet and mobile banking, social media, branch LED, customer email, SMS, ATM screensaver," an Axis Bank spokesperson said.

"The bank has a 24X7 transaction monitoring team that strives to identify and stop suspicious/ fraudulent transactions across various bank products and channels like credit and debit cards, UPI, and funds transfers etc," he added.

RBL Bank, meanwhile, has a 'RahoCyberSafe' campaign, which aims to educate without preaching or creating fear among customers.

"Instilling fear would result in discouraging customers from adopting digital ways of banking," the bank said.

"We created a set of films that talk about serious topics like frauds in a light and entertaining way without bringing fear in the minds of the audience," it added.

The bank also sends e-mails and WhatsApp communication to its customers on fraud awareness.

Most recently, HDFC Bank launched a campaign called 'Vigil Aunty'. It roped in actor Anuradha Menon, who will host chat shows on social media platforms to create awareness about cyber frauds.

This 'Vigil Aunty' will act as a social media influencer with presence on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

There will also be a dedicated WhatsApp number to connect with customers, and the bank's website will have a page on cyber fraud.

'Vigil Aunty' would also keep customers informed about the latest trends in digital/cyber frauds, and how not to fall prey to them.

Financial vulnerabilities

The latest RBI data shows that in 2021-2022, frauds to the tune of Rs 60,414 crore (Rs 604.14 billion) were reported.

While this was down 56.28 per cent from Rs 1.38 trillion in 2020-2021, the number of frauds reported had gone up 23.69 per cent -- from 7,359 in 2020-2021 to 9,103 in 2021-2022.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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Subrata Panda
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