Debit cards are instruments to help with cashless transactions. You can carry out a host of transactions using a debit card. Whether it is online or retail shopping or payment of your utility bills, debit cards can come to your rescue. You can also withdraw cash from your account using a debit card. Say goodbye to standing in long queues at the bank or filling up withdrawal slips.
However, debit cards are also at risk for frauds. Digital payments have taken India by a storm. At the same time, debit card fraud is at an all time high. Here’s what you must know about debit card fraud. This will help to protect you against fraud transactions on your debit card.
What is Debit Card Fraud?
A debit card fraud occurs when an unauthorized person gains access to your card or its details. Fraudulent means are utilized to gain such access. Once the person has access to your card details, a number of fraudulent transactions can be carried out. Simply put, you are at a risk of losing your hard earned money.
Debit card fraud is carried out using a number of methods such as:
Card skimming – Card skimming is a technique through which electronic card data is stolen. A fraudster steals your card data and creates counterfeit cards. This typically happens when you withdrawal cash at an ATM or use your card at a PoS. Fraudsters attach a foreign device on ATMs or the debit card machine and capture your encrypted data.
Eavesdropping – An electronic device can be used to read your card details and capture data. Activities such as wiretapping can be used for collecting the details.
Cash shimming –A cash shimming device is used to obtain the data encrypted in the chip on the debit card.
Card trapping – Devices can be installed within the ATM. Such a device can trap your card. You may not be able to remove the card once it is inserted in the slot. This can compromise your PIN.
How to avoid debit card fraud?
There are a few precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim of a debit card fraud.
- Don’t use your debit card to make online payments, especially on websites which do not have secure servers and security padlocks. Avoid using your card on websites which come with a security warning.
-Guard your data well. Do not share your card details with others. Do not write down your PIN or disclose your PIN to others.
-Do not store the details of your debit card on your laptop or smartphone.
-Check your bank account activity regularly. Even if you are unsure about a single transaction, immediately call your bank.
How to detect debit card fraud?
Staying vigilant can help you to detect a debit card fraud. When using an ATM for cash withdrawal, always cover the keypad with your free hand. This ensures that no device is able to record the pin. ATMs located in the branch premise are guarded. It is advisable to use such machines. Always use the machines which are located in prime locations.
If you receive any email, call, or SMS asking you for your card details, be rest assured that this is a fraudulent activity. Never give away card details to anyone even if the person is your family member.
Do not use your debit card for online shopping if you are unsure about the safety of the website. If the website is new or does not appear secure, it is best to avoid using your debit card.
If you see any unauthorized transactions on your card, get in touch with your bank immediately. These could be fraudulent transactions.
Easy ways to protect yourself from frauds
As you can see, debit card frauds are very common. You can take some measures to protect yourself from frauds:
Be alert: When you are transacting at an ATM, always pay attention toyour surroundings. Before you insert your card, look at the slot in which the card is to be inserted. If you notice anything unusual, stay away from the ATM. It is possible that skimming devices are installed in the ATM.
Ensure there is no one in the ATM when you make your transaction:Make sure ensure that there is no one in the ATM when you conduct your transaction. When you enter the PIN, conceal the keypad so that no one can see the numbers entered by you.
Memorise your card details: Do not write down your card details, especially your PIN number. Many people have a habit of writing down the PIN and keeping it in their wallets. In case you lose the wallet, you lose the card as well as the details. Anyone who steals or finds your wallet has easy access to the details. Therefore, it is important to set your PIN and memorise it.
Obtain a card protection plans:One of the ways to prevent a debit card fraud is to buy a card protection plan. This is similar to insurance for your car.
The plan protects your card against various types of frauds, thefts or loss. Most banks in India offer card protection plan. As an alternative, you can choosefraud insurance. Such a policy covers any damages caused to your bank account.
Shop on secure websites:There are a number of online shopping websites. However, not all of them are secure. Before you use your card to make any payment, check if the website is secured. Secure websites are those that begin with https instead of http. In the former, the ‘S’ stands for secure. Secure websites also have a padlock icon, either on the address (URL) bar or on the pages of the website. This is a clear identifier of a secure website. It is also important to not store your debit card details on your laptop or mobile browser. You may be tempted to do so for convenience. Nevertheless, this can put you at a risk of debit card fraud.
Use credit cards instead of debit cards for online purchases: If you have a credit card, it is advisableto use it for online payment. Credit cards are a more secure method of online transactions. You can dispute any fraudulent transaction on your credit card. However, this facility is not available for debit cards.
Check your expenses regularly:Keep a check on your bank statements regularly. If a transaction looks unfamiliar, contact your bank as soon as possible.
I suspect that a debit card fraud has occurred using my card. What can I do?
Immediately contact your bank using the customer service number. Lodge an FIR at the nearest police station regarding the incident. Provide a copy of the FIR to your bank.
I am getting a debit card for my father. He is old. He will use the card for withdrawal from ATM. What steps can I take to protect him from debit card fraud?
Once you receive the debit card, set a PIN which your father can easily remember. Tell him to not write down the PIN but memorize it. You can also tell your father to be discreet while using the ATM. He must conceal the keypad when he is entering the PIN. Tell him to be alert while he is at the ATM.
Is there any liability guarantee from the bank in case of a debit card fraud?
Banks in India do not provide 100% liability guarantee for debit cards. You can opt for one of the card protection plans. This works as an insurance. You can claim under the insurance if you lose any money due to any fraudulent activity on your card.
I received a call from my bank. The executive asked for my card details. Is this a fraudulent activity too?
Always remember that a bank will never ask your card details including the card number, PIN and CVV. Never disclose such information as this is a trap. As soon as you disclose the information, the fraudster will use the same for fraudulent activity.