Women have made a considerable shift to shopping online, not only because of the ease that it offers, but also because of the discretion that it provides. However, shopping online comes with its own set of pitfalls and precautions. The primary precaution that you need to take is making sure your financial details are safe.
Transacting online today is so easy, but it is precisely this ease that makes it possible for scam artists to take away money that rightfully belongs to us. This week, we will talk about a few different ways to ensure that our personal data stays safe online.
No Aadhaar, No Cry
Last week, news came out that details of over a billion Aadhaar cards, including names, addresses, email and phone numbers could be purchased for as little as Rs 500. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, the phone number given by the UIDAI (*99*99*1#) to check if bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar, allows anyone with any Aadhaar number to know which bank the account has been linked to.
What does this mean?
Let’s imagine someone gets to know your Aadhaar number and finds out which bank it is linked to. They can call you as an executive of that bank, quote your Aadhaar number and say that they’re running a promotion and that you’ll have to give them an OTP that has been sent to your phone number (which is in the Aadhaar database). Once they have the OTP, they can complete whatever transaction they set out to do, which includes gaining access to your Aadhaar card online and even printing your Aadhaar card out.
How does one deal with this? To begin with, do not give your Aadhaar card as proof of identity anywhere, especially not to courier or postal websites that require proof of identity to be uploaded. Give your driver’s license or your PAN card instead. If you get phone calls from people claiming to be bank staff, politely tell them that you will come to the branch and transact directly.
Filling out payment information is honestly, really boring, so it’s no wonder that e-commerce websites encourage you to save financial data on their website for a quicker checkout. However, saving information on websites, especially credit card information, isn’t recommended. Not only can it be stolen, many international shopping websites don’t require the CVV number that is a necessity in Indian e-commerce websites. All they need is the credit card number and date of expiry. So, if you have data saved in e-commerce websites I would highly recommend deleting all of it and instead, memorizing your card details or typing them out fresh each time. Not only is it safer, the entire process of typing your number out actually works well to deter impulse purchases.
Finally, storing financial data, especially pin numbers and such on your phone is also a terrible idea. Let’s assume your handbag gets stolen – with the combination of your phone and your cards, the thief hardly needs any time to extract cash from your account. So, delete these details off your phone’s local storage and employ your memory instead. If you need help recalling them, store them in an app or a place that encrypts your information and mandatorily requires a password each time you want to access it.
The price of safety is convenience. While it is, without a doubt, incredibly annoying to reach for your wallet each time you want to make a purchase or to find an alternative proof of identity, you are ensuring that your Aadhaar and credit card details are known only to you. After all, it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.