Last year, we heard the news of a Delhi based businessman being duped of close to 2.5 Lakhs by 2 techies. The theft was performed using the victim’s credit card. The duo used his stolen credit card to shop on online portals. It was also discovered that the duo had been siphoning cash using several other credit cards of unsuspecting victims. Credit card fraud is a serious concern. The theft or fraud is done so convincingly that you won’t realize the fraud until the time comes for you to pay your credit card bill. Through this piece, Loan Singh looks at the different frauds that are possible towards your credit card, safety practices you need to follow and the escalation procedure in case you fall victim to it.
Credit card fraud is the unauthorized and illegal use of your credit card to make purchases or withdraw cash. Credit card fraud falls under a broader category of identity theft – since your personal information is used by the perpetrator.
Credit Card fraud can happen in a number of ways. Some common ways of credit card fraud are
- Credit card gets physically stolen
- Your discarded credit card statement can be retrieved from the garbage dump and the card information could be used towards identity theft.
- Your net-banking website could get hacked and all of your login information can fall into the hands (or in this case hard drives) of fraudsters.
- A dishonest waiter/cashier can take a picture of your credit card (when you offer to pay) in discreet and pass it on to a fraudster.
- Telemarketing scam involves fraudsters calling you to ask your credit card information on the pretext of offering you a discounted travel package.
- Skimmers are devices placed near a card swiping machine which read your card’s magnetic strip to grab your card details. The details are duplicated onto another card.
- Phishing involves phony emails being sent to your inbox claiming to be an institution asking for your card information. This way you might give the fraudsters your information voluntarily
3 Smart Credit Card Practices to Follow
Let’s look at 3 smart credit card practices which can help you avoid the pitfalls of credit card fraud.
Be self-aware of your credit card
- Remember where you store your credit card
- Make it a point to keep checking your wallet or card holder
- Know till when the card is valid
- Do not give your credit card number to anyone over the phone or in an email
- Try to carry your credit card separately so that in case your wallet is robbed or lost, you will at least have your cards intact
- Always remember to collect your credit card after getting it swiped and before walking away
- Keep your credit card statements and receipts for maintaining routine checks
- Don’t let your credit card be lying around exposed; a picture taken of the card is enough to get the details copied
- Once receiving a new card, sign it immediately. This will reduce the possibility of someone superimposing their signature on it in case stolen or lost
While using it online
- While using your credit card online, do so only on secured websites (ones starting with ‘https://’)
- Use string passwords with a combination of upper case, lower case, special characters and numbers
- Don’t share your netbanking customer ID and password with anyone
- Don’t click on email links send from fraudsters pretending to be from banks or credit card companies
- Check if the online shopping websites you browse for have safe digital certificates from standard authentication service providers such as VeriSign
- Look out for a confirmation payment email or SMS so that you know the money you just paid has reached the merchant
Alerts on your credit card
- Subscribe to mobile and email alerts for your credit card. The alerts can help you to be aware of any unauthorized transactions and expenses
- Review your monthly credit card statements. In case you notice anything unusual, you can then report it within 30-60 days of receiving the statement
- Inform the card issuer of a change in personal information such as number, email, address etc.
Escalation Measures in Case of Fraud
A fraud can always happen when you least expect it. Despite following the above-mentioned practices, you could still fall victim to fraud. In case you do, escalate the issue immediately.
- Contact your card provider’s customer care number. Note down the representative’s number and your complaint reference number. In case you are visiting the card issuer in person, keep a copy of the complaint with you.
- Also, file an FIR (First Information Report) at your local police station with regards to the fraud. In case the fraud was committed online, file a complaint with the cyber police.
- Next, the card provider will investigate the matter and firstly freeze the account. Any fraudulent transactions are tracked and tried to be reversed. In case of online fraud, the online merchant is contacted.
- In case the card provider does not reply or act on your complaints, you can then escalate the issue to a banking ombudsman. A banking ombudsman’s role is to resolve customer complaints related to banking or credit cards. They also investigate deficiencies in services promised but not implemented by the institution. Even charges levied without customer being informed is investigated by the ombudsman. You can either send an email or courier your complaint copy to the ombudsman.