Someone may already have your debit card and pin - 7 ways to save the money in your bank account

A family member told me that INR 50000 was spent from her account on international websites. A colleague woke up to 10 messages of INR 10000 has been withdrawn from his bank account - and if your maths is as brilliant as mine, you know he was duped of  1 Lakh rupees. In such thefts, the bank will do its own investigation after you file a police report and will respond in 45 days and will possibly return your money,... but why be in this situation?

Only your ATM PIN and your card stand between you and a fraud like this. The chances are, someone may already have your card duplicated and your pin available and is waiting for the right day when your account has more money. So change your ATM/Credit Card pins before reading further. It's a good idea.

So, how does such a theft happen? To duplicate your card, someone just needs a split second with your card when you are not looking. So if you hand over your card to someone for charging, he can just duplicate it by swiping it in one of the machines he can buy to do so and such a person only needs your pin, which is far easier in today's world of ultra powerful CCTV and pinhole cameras (or one can do this just by looking). But talking of cameras, today your fingerprints can be stolen from your pictures. A pin is far easier to steal.

So here are seven tips to avoid being a target of such a crime, which is striking more people in your neighborhood than you realize:

1. Deactivate international transactions on your cards

The easiest trick is to make international purchase in your card. That way the person is difficult to track and be brought to the law. Our police does not have international jurisdiction nor do they have means to track petty criminals abroad... more serious stuff... maybe they can chase international criminals.. but not for a few thousand INR fraud. Another reason bank fraud takes place abroad is that India requires an additional password for internet transactions that is not required outside India, which makes international spurious transactions easier.

So, log into your bank account and disable your card's international usage. You can enable it in a second when you require it if you are travelling abroad. 

2. Never let a card leave your sight

Never let your card out of your sight even for a second. If you hand over your card to others for charging, you are at risk. You must accompany your card at all times and see who is handling it to do what. If you can do that, at least your debit card cannot be cloned and it is safe. These days the charging machines are GPRS based mobile like. The cashier can bring these machines to you on petrol pumps, restaurants, or even for a COD payment on Amazon. 

3. Chip or not?

The newer cards with security chips are more difficult to clone. But do not take chances. If your card does not have a chip and you probably have let it out of your sight in the past, you are at risk. Change the pin now.
The golden square in this card is the chip - hope your cards have it:

4. Never disclose your pin – even if you are punching

You could have done it in the past or maybe remember someone handing over pin to the cashier to complete the purchase. Such a person is a sitting duck and also quite dumb.  OK, I myself have done it long back but now my pin is changed and I was never stolen from. In retrospect, I  realize I am like the person who left his house's doors open with valuable lying in the open and went on a vacation and returned with everything in its place still.  

5. Reduce the daily withdrawal limits

Banks typically allow a withdrawal of 1 lakh per day, but do you require such an amount in cash ever? A limit of 20000 should be just fine. You can ask your bank to put such a limit. This will ensure that even if someone is able to steal from you, the damage is contained.

6. Cut your unnecessary credit limit on the cards

The credit card service providers are quite generous these days. Don't overuse their generosity. Keep only what you need. An unnecessary credit limit is an unnecessary risk.

7. Always have your cell number updated for your savings and credit card accounts

As soon as someone makes a transaction, you will get an SMS. But your cell number must be correctly updated with the bank and linked to your accounts. If you need to do  this, do it now.

Apart from all this - there could be insider complicity in some cases. Sometimes spurious callers call up elderly unsuspecting people and casually ask them about their ATM Pin, CVV, and other information as if it was required officially by the bank. Senior citizens are especially susceptible to such frauds - and it's a matter of speculation why only the senior citizens receive these calls. How do the fraudsters know the age of the account holders? It's just not possible without having insider information.

Banks though try to educate their account holders en masse about such things:

Bonus information

How we retrieved money from international vendors. Someone had shopped for 50000 using a family members card. We quickly got the transaction details from the bank and then located the social media profiles of the shopping sites and we posted messages like the following on their facebook/Twitter spaces (which put a lot of pressure on the vendors) after which quickly they blocked the transactions and returned the money in 2-3 days and responded in the same online space. 

"Dear XYZ,

 Transaction 0123456789 is made by hacking my bank account. I am willing to provide you all the proof you may need to ascertain this - police report, bank's letter, ID proof. I request you not to ask for this money from the bank and not to transfer the merchandize to the buyer. Also, if you could forward me any information about the buyer, it will help us in the investigations.



Ashish Gupta said…
Why go through all the loops when technology has advanced to this:

and this:
Gyanesh Talwar said…
Great bit of info Ashish - thermal imaging can be the next thing we have to worry about.
sargam india said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hua Hai said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vinoth Kanna said…
Hi, i have come to this blog from Quora. I just want to inform you that PIN is not necessary for international transactions. International transactions will not prompt security SMS. If someone has picture of the credit card or the numbers with validity, name and cvv he can simply do international transactions.

Popular posts from this blog

Tenant police verification in Noida now available online

Migrating to Noida\Gurgaon from Pune?

5 reasons I gave up the idea of buying a flat in Noida