Even as more and more people are using the digital mode of payments irrespective of the transfer amount, the risk of financial fraud is also rising. According to a survey conducted by LocalCircles, about 42 per cent Indians said they or someone in their family have been a victim of financial fraud in the past three years.
The survey showed that 29 per cent of citizens share their ATM or debit card pin details with close family members, while 4 per cent share it with their domestic and office staff. It also showed that 33 per cent of citizens store their bank account, debit or credit card and ATM passwords, Aadhaar and PAN numbers on email or computer, while 11 per cent of citizens have stored these details in their mobile phone contact list.
Bank account fraud, fraud by fly-by-night e-commerce operators, and credit and debit card frauds account for most incidents in the past three years.
The survey, which was conducted in October 2021, received nearly 32,000 responses from citizens across 301 districts of India. About 43 per cent respondents were from Tier-1, 30 per cent from Tier-2 and 27 per cent respondents were from tier-3, 4 and rural districts.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, which might miss a lot of unreported frauds, shows that frauds to the tune of Rs 60,414 crore were witnessed in 2021-22. According to the Microsoft 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report, consumers in India experienced a fairly high rate of online fraud of 69 per cent in 2021.
One of the questions in the LocalCircles survey was: “Have you or someone in your immediate family been a victim of financial fraud in the last 3 years?” In response, the 54 per cent of citizens said “Thankfully, no one”. However, 4 per cent said “Yes, multiple members”, and while 38 per cent revealed “Yes, one of us in the family”. Only 4 per cent couldn’t say. On an aggregate basis, 42 per cent of Indians surveyed say they or someone in their family have been victims of financial fraud in the last three years.
To the question on the nature of the financial frauds experienced in the past three years, 29 per cent respondents to the survey said, “Bank account fraud”, 24 per cent said “Fraud by e-commerce sites”, and 21 per cent said “Other frauds”, 18 per cent said “Credit/debit card fraud”, 12 per cent said “Fraud by mobile apps”, 8 per cent said “ATM card fraud”, and 6 per cent said “Insurance fraud”, while 3 per cent did not respond.
Of the families who experienced financial fraud in the past three years, only 17 per cent were able to get their funds back; 74 per cent could not get any resolution.
The RBI has been advising citizens to report any financial frauds they have experienced. To safeguard against such financial loss, experts have been advocating use of alpha-numeric password lock for email, computer and mobile phones, in such a way that is difficult to crack. Importantly, at random intervals, one should change account password used for making transactions.