How to avoid online scams and cyber fraud today

There is a serious need for awareness about cyber fraud and online scams

India is the leading market for smartphones and has the cheapest internet in the world. While this opens up endless opportunities for millions of people in India and connects them to the rest of the world, it also brings several risks. It is important that the public is made aware of the rising threats that lurk online. Online scams and frauds are now more frequent than ever and the only way to protect the general population from such frauds is to spread digital literacy and awareness.

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No one is safe from cyber threats today

There have been recent cases where old people were sent messages by scammers where they were told to link their bank accounts with their documents to avail government benefits and when they clicked on such links, their bank accounts were emptied. Since old people cannot understand the complexity of such situations, it is the duty of their family members to inform the elderly to not click on any links since they can lead to malicious websites.

What is being done to deal with this issue

The team of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha organizes awareness camps and seminars where cyber security experts are invited to teach people about such risks and how to stay away from them. At these events, cyber security experts often show live demonstrations of how online scams are done and how it can affect the lives of innocent people. Online scammers have even gone to the extent of extortion by blackmail after hacking into the devices of users and stealing their private information.

We talked to Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia, the president of the Mahasabha. He shared a few things about their initiatives and plans for future.

He said, “We are doing our best to reach out to as many people as we can about the dangers of online scams and fraud. This has become very common and yet we see that no one knows what to do about it. The members of our team try to cover small towns and villages where a huge population has smart phones and access to the internet but almost no awareness about such risks. We are organizing awareness camps where people are brought together to so that they can be told about safe browsing practices and how to avoid becoming prey to cyber criminals.”

He added “It is very common for scammers to send a link to a mobile phone through text message. The message is often misleading and generally offers something attractive. Many users are trapped by messages about winning lotteries or cars and are offered a link to avail their prize. Innocent users often believe this and fall in this trap. They go on to click on the malicious link which often downloads spyware or malware on their phones which steals bank details and other private information. Millions of people are scammed by online scammers every day. The only solution is to educate as many people as possible about these scams and how to avoid them.”

Here are a few practices that can be adopted to avoid online scams according to cyber security experts

  • Beware of websites which are selling stuff that appears to be offered at an unrealistic discounted rate. Because the amount appears to be less, people often take their chances and fall victim to online fraud through shopping websites.
  • Never click on links which offer to lead you to quick money-making websites.
  • The tech support scam is the most common scam where a scammer calls you and pretends to be a bank employee. They often lie to you that your account is frozen and ask for a one-time password (OTP) which is sent to your phone. They use the OTP to get access to your banking services and then steal your money through any means possible.
  • Always set strong passwords on apps and enable two step authentications for any service that has your banking details.

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia is a successful businessman, entrepreneur and social worker. He along with his team are working continuously for the help and upliftment of all vulnerable sections of society.