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What to do if you find something fishy about a financial offer?

Modus operandi includes calls with lucrative offers, phishing sites to lure customers to reveal personal details, identity of bank staff including ID card, approvals on counterfeit letterhead and craftily designed seemingly-genuine text messages

Venkata Jayaraman        Last Updated: September 13, 2019  | 18:10 IST
What to do if you find something fishy about a financial offer?
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Fake or Real? Today, fraudsters offering financial products such as loans, credit cards are no longer headlines. It is so rampant that we have come to accept it as part of our dealings with the outside world! These so-called financial offers, usually offered at attractive rates, come our way mostly from private individuals claiming to represent banks or financial institutions, are less likely to raise suspicion.

Modus operandi includes calls with lucrative offers, phishing sites to lure customers to reveal personal details, identity of bank staff including ID card, approvals on counterfeit letterhead and craftily designed seemingly-genuine text messages.

How alert do you need to be? Absolutely on your guard! Awareness that such crooks and fraudsters exist is step one. The next time there is a call or an offer too-good-to-be-true, do not believe it just when you see it! Be wary of social media post or e-mail offering the best deal or a pre-approved loan and do not take the offer without first acting suspicious and verifying the credentials of the source. All banks have a toll free number, so it is best to reach and verify the offer before going head.

Prevention is key

  • Avoid sharing personal details (mobile number, E-mail id, PAN Number, KYC details) in public places such as malls and on the web.
  • Unsubscribe to junk mails which is spamming your personal inbox from time to time.
  • Do not click / respond to offers which are not from original handles in social media

Warning signals

  • 100% approval guarantee - There is no such thing as guaranteed approval; each bank needs to follow a due process to on-board a customer and offer a suitable product
  • Upfront Fees - If a bank or a financial institution requires you to make payments upfront, it's a red flag
  • Request for cash payments or transfer to accounts in individual names - This is clear scam.
  • Showing urgency - Take extra time to research if an individual tells you that the offer is only for today or it will last only for next couple of hours
  • No contact information or hard to find on search engines - A clear warning signal
  • Unsecured website - If the website is unsecure, you need extra care. You should check the spelling of the site and variance in name. It may be a phishing attack.

Some best practices

  • Always go with a bank or a financial institution that you know and trust, else research
  • Always call the bank or the financial institution to verify the pre-approval offer
  • If the offer is coming from your bank, check if the pre-approval is  reflecting in your internet banking page (post login)
  • No bank will ask to pay any amount prior to loan disbursement

What to do if scammed already

  • Cease contact with the fake lender and report to the originating bank/financial institution
  • Report the incident to Police
  • Make sure your bank accounts and credit cards are secure - if in doubt, ask your bank to hotlist the cards and seek a replacement
  • Change your pins/passwords immediately

An offer for low interest and quick funding may sound enticing, but one must do a quick research of offers one receives. Seek more details, ask enough questions and do a thorough check of the information provided. Obtain name and contact number of the caller. Analyse the terms and conditions of the offer and listen to your gut if it tells you something is off.

(The author is Chief Risk Officer - Fincare Small Finance Bank)

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