Technology has made life convenient for all. Today, we can shop from the comfort of our home without having to go from store to store in search of an item. A simple online search tells us where that item is available at the cheapest price. We make payments easily with credit cards or mobile money and receive the product right at our door. We use mobile money to pay for cab rides, restaurant bills, utility bills, and even to withdraw the month’s salary. Everyone armed with a smartphone is practically carrying their bank accounts with them all the time. It is convenient, but it is also risky. There are numerous dangers and loopholes in Mobile Money Transactions that the everyday Internet user isn’t aware of.
A Worrisome Fact
For instance, when you’re standing in a queue at the supermarket and making a payment with your credit card, you sometimes have to provide your phone number.
The person right behind you can easily use your phone number to not only look you up on the Internet but also to find your personal, identifying information online. And that person right after you could well be a cybercriminal or hacker or someone with unethical intentions.
In fact, quite recently, something similar was performed as a stunt to draw attention to fact that the Internet is a data pool and anyone can exploit it for unethical purposes.
Your phone number can be typed into Truecaller to find your actual identity, and that will lead to all your other information, from name of school and college, place of residence to the name of your spouse. It may seem shocking, but it is actually that easy to find out information about you. In a lot of cases, only your name is enough to find you out online.
If a name can give away so much, imagine how much your mobile money transaction details can give away?
Dangers of Mobile Money
The benefits of mobile transactions are well known, but the dangers are also endless. Each time you make transactions online, either from your phone or from your computer, you risk giving away your financial details to those who may be snooping around on the network. Whether you use your own Internet connection at home or a public WiFi at a coffee shop, the risk is alike.
Should We Execute Hackers that Do This?
Hackers are always on the prowl, waiting for that moment when you are careless enough to give out personal information on an unsecured network. Many people have faced these types of situations and every day there are more such instances happening around the world.
Even without losing your credit card or giving out your PIN, you could well get a message that your account had been debited by a few thousand bucks. By the time you get around to investigate the matter, the thief is buying the latest Samsung smartphone with the stolen money.
Financial details are the most private and identifying information about any person, and when a thief gets access to that data, finding out more about you is child’s play. When a hacker steals your personal details, it can result in identity theft. If that happens, creditors will hound you for payments that you don’t even know about or get a tax notice from a job you never had.
Your Money Can Be Stolen in a Variety of Ways
Fraud and money laundering are also prevalent in the mobile money industry. There is no way to be sure that the developer who created the mobile app did not also create unauthorized users with rights to initiate and verify transactions. The unauthorized users can transfer funds from the bank to the developer’s wallet effectively. SIM swap is another way to steal your money.
The fraudster moves the valid Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN) to another handset which the original user has no access to and so will receive no notification. The unauthorized user can transact on the account because he has the PIN.
How to Be Safe When Making Mobile Money Transactions?
If you use a service like Truecaller, be aware that it is the root of many of the problems. The app gets to know most of the information about you and conveniently shares it with third parties.
If you continue to use the service, make sure to unlink it from your email address and make your information private, which means if someone wants to get more information about you through Truecaller will first need to send you a request. You will also get a notification every time somebody looks up your phone number.
The second step to take is to make all your social media accounts private. If you cannot make your account completely private, make sure to at least hide as much information as possible from the public. Although some information will always remain public, make sure to hide identifying information line location, the name of spouse, or place of work.
Even though mobile money its own drawbacks, by taking certain precautions, users can always be safe.