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Here Is How You Can Protect Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud

Adhil Shetty

Technology simplifies our life and provides conveniences. It’s difficult to find a single aspect of our daily lives which remains untouched by technological innovations, including the way we manage our money. Plastic money—the term used for credit and debit cards—represent innovations in the financial realm.

While debit cards have made withdrawals and availability of money easier, credit cards have empowered us to purchase now and pay later. These two make our lives simpler and stress-free by eliminating the need to carry loads of cash physically.

However, all technology has its failings, which can attract digital thieves and frauds. In a recent article, noted American security consultant and former con artist Frank Abagnale observed that our classified information is available to frauds with just a few keyboard taps. He said that with technological advancements, it is not harder for criminals to steal your identity today as compared to, say, way back in the 1960s.

So, the question here is this: should we stop using plastic money? Absolutely not. Abagnale advocates using credit card and avoiding debit cards altogether because he believes in the United States, a debit card fraud can easily drain all your savings from your bank account, whereas credit card fraud can be reported and the transaction stopped. That being said, in India, not using a debit card would seem counterintuitive to many, especially to anyone uncomfortable with borrowing for daily consumption.

Why Is Debit Card Convenient 

A debit card is linked with your bank account that has all your money. Its usage is similar to how you use your credit card, and you can use both to make POS transactions and online payments. With increasing prevalence of debit card transactions, incidence of fraud has also increased. While banks provide you enough safeguards against fraud, the security of your finances ultimately lies in your hands. And therefore, you need to take some steps to ensure you don’t fall prey to fraud.

How Is It Vulnerable To Fraud Activities

The ease with which a debit card can be used for various transactions also makes it vulnerable to fraud. A fraudster can use sensitive information like your PIN, CVV number etc. to withdraw your savings.

You can, however, take a few steps to avoid the theft of your money and the misuse of your debit card.

Memorise PIN & CVV: Memorise your CVV number and remove the same from the back of the card. Also, do not write down your PIN anywhere. Memorise this as well.

Don’t Trust Anyone: Do not share sensitive banking details with anyone. Even your immediate family members cannot legally use your debit card.

Do Not Let Anyone Use Your Debit Card: When it comes to money, it is best to be cautious. While transacting in public places, do not let your card go out of your sight. Insist on the POS machine to be brought to you where the transaction can be completed in your presence.

Change PINs Frequently: Make it a practice to change your PIN regularly. Your PIN can be easily compromised, especially while transacting in public places.

Careful At ATMs: Beware of skimming devices attached to ATMs. Lookout for skimmers attached to the card swiping device and for secret cameras installed to record your password input.

Don’t Use Public Computers To Transact: Online transactions using public computers pose very high risk. Such computers may have key-logging software to record your username and password. If you absolutely must use a public computer, use the virtual keyboard.

Be Cautious While Using It For Online Payments: You should only use your card only on trusted, secure websites. Ensure the page you are opening has “https” in the address bar.

Don’t Reply To Dodgy Mails: Be suspicious of emails or SMS messages asking for your CVV, PIN, OTP or other sensitive details. These are the works of fraudsters. Your bank will never ask you for these details.

Keep A Tab On Your Transactions: You should check your bank statements regularly to track your transactions. This helps you in not only keeping a tab of your expenses but also to identify transactions not done by you. In case of any suspicious activity or transaction, flag it to the relevant officials and get your card blocked.

Keep Your Mobile Safe: Your registered mobile for various bank activities should be secured. Do not hand it to unknown persons. Your phone receives OTPs and other security codes, and hence can be misused.

Keep Your Wallets Safe: We usually carry our debit/credit cards in our wallets. Losing your wallet means losing your cards as well. So keep your wallet safe and get your cards blocked immediately in case of a loss.

Ultimately, ensuring financial security is one’s own responsibility. Use your card safely and avoid the well-known traps fraudsters use.

The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com.