In addition to sharing our likes, dislikes, location, educational details, and family and friends, now Facebook and WhatsApp have launched their own pay apps, where they will have access to our bank details too.
Similar to Google Pay, these apps work by transferring money via BHIM UPI. While the process seems very simple and convenient, and looks like an easy way to send money and settle accounts with your contacts, it’s actually quite dangerous.
Our activity online leads to skilled hackers creating an online profile of each person, or a ‘virtual you.’
This has records of every single text you send, everything you ‘like’, and every picture you share.
The more we share about ourselves on social media, the more vulnerable we make ourselves, as we just add on to the information that helps to create a perfect cyber clone of ourselves.
This cyber clone can then be used for identity theft, especially since by now the hackers have all our likes, dislikes, pictures, texts showing our way of talking, and can even predict how we would feel or react in situations based on our online behaviour.
If we add our bank details to the mix by using too many payment apps, especially those linked to social media- the most fertile information ground for these hackers- we are potentially setting ourselves up for identity theft.
How to stay safe
The best way to stay safe is to avoid social media and payment apps, and to stick to email and phone calls.
It is best not to convey sensitive information via WhatsApp, sms etc.- calling or conveying in person is the safest way to transmit information that is best kept private.
If you must have a social media presence, keep it to a minimum. Don’t post personal views, too many photos, likes and dislikes, location, or anything that can be used to create a virtual you.
Adding your bank details for payments would just be the cherry on the cake of all your personal information.
Also, as far as possible, try to settle accounts with your friends using cash. Yes, you may not always have exact change like how payment apps allow us to send each other exact amounts, but it would be best to make that small adjustment for the sake of personal safety.
Keep your bank details OFF online databases as far as possible, and do not upload them to social media sites which are already known for lax security and selling user information.
Stay smart and safe, people.
Image Credits: Google Images
Sources: Information from contacts in Government service
Find the author online at: @samyukthanair_