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The State Bank of India’s (SBI) Yono app has reportedly been adding 70,000 new users every day
The State Bank of India’s (SBI) Yono app has reportedly been adding 70,000 new users every day

What new users of banking apps should know to stay safe

As more and more first-time banking app users come on board, the chances of fraud also climb

With covid-19 disrupting in-branch banking, banks’ apps have seen a surge in new users. The State Bank of India’s (SBI) Yono app has reportedly been adding 70,000 new users every day. SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar told Mint earlier in September that the number of registered Yono users has hit 27 million at present against 20 million on 5 March.

As more and more first-time app users come on board, the chances of fraud also climb. Here are a few things that new users should keep in mind to avoid being defrauded.

The first step is to download the app safely. “Not all apps on Play Store or App Store are legitimate. Before downloading any app, go through reviews and do research on the developer. Register for SMS banking so that you get updates on banking transactions. This helps report fraudulent transactions quickly," said C.S. Sudheer, founder and CEO of IamCheated.com, a site that addresses consumer complaints for online fraud.

You can also download the app directly from your bank’s portal. If you download from an app store, you can check its authenticity by contacting the bank and verifying the exact name and specifications. Downloading a fake app can put you at risk as it will capture your data, or even sideload phishing apps and malware.

The next step is setting a strong password. “Ensure you have thought about a password that isn’t predictable by fraudsters and isn’t similar to the date of birth or names of family members," said Rajesh Mirjankar, managing director and CEO, Infrasoft Technologies. He added that while it was not advisable to write down passwords, if you do need to note down sensitive details, keep them in a password-protected file. It is also advisable to change banking passwords periodically.

If you have predictable spending, you can also set a cap on the daily transactions. You must activate notifications for all your transactions.

One big risk that you can avoid altogether is using public or unreliable internet connections. Using free airport wi-fi is convenient, but can open up your device to malicious users. The same applies to cyber cafes and shared computers.

To improve the security of your device and network, make sure the newest version of the operating system with the latest security patches is installed. Have your firewall enabled and effective antivirus software installed.

Also note that your bank is not going to ask you for your login details, so make sure not to divulge them to anyone as they may be posing as a bank representative.

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