The trap of digital convenience: Enough holes for cons to flee

Dec 29, 2023

With new technologies, we often expect an improved version of what existed. When paper currency transforms into a digital format, we anticipate a more error-free system. On one hand, digital currency offers convenience, enabling us to track our expenses and transactions. However, it also removes control over our expenditures, a byproduct of this transformation.

Physical currency notes have disadvantages, including the inconvenience of carrying them, concerns about safety, and the need to store and count them. Digitising currency resolves these issues. Despite the negatives, such as potential fraud, people often overlook these drawbacks. Banks continuously remind their customers not to disclose their account information, cautioning against sharing passwords and OTPs. However, distinguishing between legitimate and fake calls can be challenging. Even when individuals are aware of fraudulent actions, they may unknowingly share their data. Instances have occurred where colleagues received emails from my ID requesting urgent money transfers. Bank’s SMS centres send feedback requests, making it tough to navigate these situations daily and increasing the likelihood of falling victim to scams.

We must agree that the new system brings additional concerns and more potential for losing hard-earned money. We must remain vigilant and acknowledge that the effort required to protect our finances may exceed the effort involved in earning that money.

Recently, I read a report about a jewellery shop owner in Delhi. The owner received an inquiry for some ornaments. Upon receiving the payment alert from the bank, the jeweller couriered the items as the customer claimed to be unable to travel. This process was repeated a few times, with the order amounts increasing each time. However, when the shop owner reconciled his accounts, he discovered that the payments had not been credited to his account. He realised that the SMS alerts were fake, even though they appeared to come from the same SMS centre used by his bank. Unfortunately, there is little chance of recovering the money after filing a complaint. The police department is frustrated with such crimes as fraudsters can operate from anywhere in the world, making it difficult to trace them.

It is often the case that when the government introduces a new system, it undergoes extensive research and receives approval. However, it may not always be foolproof. The government primarily considers its benefits, and the digitisation of currency has increased its income. The system is aware that it will receive its share regardless, so it may not prioritise addressing any significant issues. People realise that it is a part of the game, where some may win while others lose. That is the modern economy. The system does not differentiate between winners and losers.