The recent phishing scams targeting bank customers are unfortunate, but not unexpected.
It seems this is the price a cashless society has to pay.
There is nothing wrong with going digital. It is convenient.
The problems come when companies try to squeeze too much information into a tiny screen in their mobile apps.
There are numerous icons on the screen. Sometimes after I hit the enter key, it seems like there is no response, but something has actually changed on the screen – I just didn’t realise I had to scroll down to check.
Unwanted pop-up advertisements and promotions add to the confusion.
Often, the user is told to go to another site (via a link) to retrieve a code and come back to the site. Or told to click on a confirmation link sent via SMS or e-mail. In the process, the original site may be lost.
Sometimes, there is a time limit as well – finish it within a certain time or the transaction will expire. It can be difficult to differentiate between fact and fake when a person is in a rush.
Those who design interactive forms ought to know that the user is most likely a person with average computer skills tapping on a tiny phone screen. They should make things clear and simple.
Finally, some advice for those putting their money in the bank – don’t put so much money in the account used for daily transactions.
That way, thieves cannot steal more than what you have inside there.
Also, since mobile phone subscriptions are quite affordable nowadays, it would be a good idea to have a few phone plans with different phone numbers.
Use one number or device exclusively for financial transactions only – no social media, suspicious applications or large contact list should be linked to this number.
There is no returning to the pre-digital days, despite the woes and worries the digital era brings. We just need to be more clever than the nameless and faceless thieves eyeing our money from afar.
Daniel Chan Wai Piew