Tips to protect your credit and debit cards from fraud

Convenience banking has, undoubtedly, come a long way. Most individuals have made the journey from ATMs to internet andmobile banking with consummate ease. However, most of them are still concerned about the risks involved in these new-age banking channels. The sentiment is shared by the Damodaran committee on customer service in banks, set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to study the problems and concerns faced by bank customers.

The committee has identified various issues such as hacking of bank accounts, cloning of cards, etc, and has asked banks to step up security measures to minimise such frauds. Even otherwise, you can transact on these channels as banks already have redressal mechanisms for such problems in place. Here are some of the common problems faced by banking customers and what you can do if you become a victim.

Problem: You are in possession of the card, but it gets swiped in a remote location for a transaction not initiated by you.

Solution: This is possible if your card has been ‘skimmed’ and a ‘counterfeit’ card is generated for use by fraudsters. More sophisticated credit card issuers intimate customers about transactions through an SMS alert and this is how the customer gets the first information about the misuse of his card. The customer should immediately contact the customer care/service centre of the card issuer and block the card from further misuse. Then ask the bank to do a fullfledged investigation into the modus operandi of the transaction, which can then be the basis for a resolution.

“Transactions at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals can be disputed by the customer if the ‘charge slip’ is not signed by the card holder or if the signature does not match,” says Sanjeev Patel, executive vice-president & head, direct banking channels, HDFC bank.

If the investigation reveals that the customer was in possession of the card but was not present in the remote location at the time of the transaction, then the bank initiates an insurance recovery for the disputed transactions.

“The interest of the customer is always kept in mind and in case of any ambiguity, customers’ past trends and track record are considered to give the customer the benefit of doubt,” said IndusInd Bank in an official statement. “Such transactions based on customer notification is marked as disputed transactions till the issue is resolved. The customer is not liable to pay for these transactions till the bank completes its investigation and initiates liaison for recovery through insurance,” the bank said.

Problem: Identity theft through phishing, pharming

Solution: The customer should immediately report the incident to the bank and request for suspension of services (netbanking, cards, etc) depending on the details that have been compromised by the customer. The customer should also change the relevant passwords to ensure no further damage is done.

A customer should be careful about the computer being used for online transactions. “Even home computers are not free from key logging virus and other malwares. In fact, children often download games, music or movies. Any virus can get downloaded through these free downloads and put your computer at risk,” says Vinoo Thomas, technical product manager, McAfee Labs. “Hence, you should either educate your children abou the possible implications of such risks or use a personal laptop, which is kept free of such downloads and viruses,” says Thomas.

Banks, on their part, monitor usage to detect unusual transactions, in addition to putting in place a host of measures to circumvent frauds. “Measures are also taken to avoid account takeovers. These include virtual keypad to log in to prevent capture of key strokes and automatic logout on more than certain minutes of idling on the system. Also demographic details are not displayed in clear online and updation of the same is allowed only after an additional factor of authentication,” says Gowri Mukherjee, head, digital business, Citi India. “We also regularly monitor the transaction activity on customer accounts, which triggers alerts if any unusual transactions are done. This is done for all channels, not just the online channel.”

“Each of the systems provided by ECS also has basic checks in terms of number and value of transactions allowed in a period per card or per account or per terminal where the card is used. This feature may help in case an alarmingly high number of transactions happen in a very short time,” says Bhavin Mody, senior product manager, ElectraCard Services, a payment processing company.

Problem: Non-dispensation cash from the ATM

Solution: Such scenarios can be primarily attributed to hardware malfunction, network connectivity issues, bad quality of currency bills or the customer forgetting to pick up the notes.

“This typically happens in case the communication link fails at the moment of cash dispensation by the machine. In such cases, the customer needs to retain the ATM slip which gives the time of transaction and report the incident to the respective customer care centre. Most banks reconcile ATM cash periodically and such unaccounted cash are credited back to the respective customer’s account post internal review,” said IndusInd Bank.

“The customer should report such cases immediately to the bank so that corrective actions can be taken and money refunded to the customer. The banks have various processes/system functionality features in place to investigate such cases and address them,” Patel of HDFC Bank says. Also, the RBI has asked banks to compensate customers in case of any delay in reversing the erroneous debits.

Problem: Frauds occurring due to capture of your card information at ATMs/online

Solution: If you thought that you need to be watchful only while swiping cards at merchant outlets, think again.

Scamsters today are using sophisticated means to obtain information on your card’s magnetic stripe to clone cards, apart from capturing your ATM PIN when you key it in at kiosks.

“In the online space, India is now the safest country for e-commerce, with the implementation of second factor authentication. Such misuse has now shifted to the ATM network. It is easier to commit such frauds at ATMs, due to the closed space than at POS terminals. After capturing the information, cards can be counterfeited to be misused,” says Uttam Nayak, group country manager, India and South Asia, Visa. At your end, you need to make sure that you keep the keypad covered while entering your PIN to prevent any camera device from capturing the PIN you enter.

Problem: Giving into tempting offers

Solution: The solution is to simply be aware of the kind of frauds taking place. “Recently, an incident was reported where customers were encouraged to swipe at a POS terminal located in a departmental store for a small amount in return for freebies worth much more. They were unaware that a device was recording the card-related sensitive information offline,” says Nayak of Visa. To avoid falling prey to such dubious schemes, it is best to stay away from offers that seem to good to be true, because they are likely to be.

courtesy: ET

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