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Withdrawing money? Follow these steps to keep frauds at bay

Customers, especially senior citizens, must take several precautions while taking out cash from their bank accounts

November 01, 2019 / 09:10 AM IST

Recently, a senior citizen residing in Mumbai and dependent on her monthly pension income of Rs 40,000 for regular expenses got duped due to a technical mistake committed by the bank. It so happened that another person had withdrawn Rs 20,000 from her savings account using a withdrawal form from her bank account. That person had the same account number as that of the senior citizen’s printed on the bank’s passbook, which was a technical error. So, during withdrawal, that person presented the bank passbook along with the withdrawal form. The bank teller couldn’t identify the bank’s technical glitch until the senior citizen raised the complaint of faulty withdrawal entry in passbook of the Rs 20,000 made from her account. She got to know of this Rs 20,000 withdrawal after updating her passbook, which she does regularly to track the flow of money from her account. Later, the bank resolved the technical fault, reversed the transaction and credited the amount.

This case ended happily. But in general customers, especially senior citizens, must take several precautions while taking out cash from their bank accounts – through a withdrawal form, cheque, debit card or even via the card-less mode.

Care while using the withdrawal form

While taking out money from your account using the bank’s withdrawal form, it’s mandatory to have a bank passbook. Also, you need to be present while withdrawing cash from your account. So, no one else can withdraw money from your account unless you give a written consent authorising another person to withdraw cash on your behalf.

This authorisation is allowed in the following cases: the account holder is sick, is a senior citizen or disabled and unable to visit the bank branch personally to withdraw cash. So, appoint an authorised person from your family or friends whom you trust on money matters. Also, preserve the letter of authority issued by the bank in the prescribed format. Hand over the authorisation letter and bank passbook to the trusted person only when you need his/her help to withdraw money from your account. These documents have to be presented when a third person withdraws on your behalf.

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Update your passbook and check the last few transactions just to be sure. In case you find an entry specifying a transaction you haven’t authorised, raise the concern immediately with the branch manager.

Being prudent with cheques

To ensure that only the person you have issued the cheque to is able to encash the amount, you should put a double cross line and write “A/C payee.” Such a practice is a precautionary measure to ensure that the money will be credited only to a bank account and not handed over to someone else. Many people forget to mention a/c payee while issuing cheques. In such instances, if the cheque is lost, then any person can pose as the beneficiary mentioned in the cheque and withdraw money from your account. Also, always cancel the word “Bearer” from the cheque, as anyone else that gets hold of the cheque can encash it from the bank.

Record the details of cheques issued to someone or used by you in the cheque book. This information helps to reconcile the transactions with entry in bank passbook and comes handy several times.

Judicious use of debit card

Do not share the debit card or the pin number with your friends or office colleagues. Also, do not write the pin number on the card itself. It’s better to memorise it. While making any transactions at ATMs, stand close to the machine and use your hand to shield the keypad as you enter the PIN. This is a precautionary measure, as strangers could peep to see your pin number as you type it out. Most importantly, do not take help from strangers for using the ATM card to withdraw cash. Collect your card and the transaction slip before leaving. Shred the slip immediately after verifying the details.

Card-less cash withdrawal

With a rising number of cloning cases of debit cards while using it to withdraw money from ATMs, the likes of State Bank of India, Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, AXIS Bank etc. now allow the card-less cash withdrawal facility. Any facility that provides access to your money needs precaution and security. In this case, never share the password and net banking login details to any person. This is because a stranger / fraudster can access your cardless cash details and can make withdrawals without your approval.

Also, monitor suspicious transactions on your bank account. Notify your bank immediately if there has been a fraudulent transaction.
Hiral Thanawala
first published: Nov 1, 2019 09:10 am

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