Country’s largest bank SBI and its subsidiaries blocked about 6.25 lakh debit cards in the wake of suspicious transactions at third-party ATM machines. The bank blocked the debit cards without giving prior notice to the cardholders. However, the bank subsequently sent emails and SMSes to customers, alerting them of the card blockage and asked them to re-apply for new cards at their respective branches.
The matter does not stop at the malware-related security breach but can lead to leakage of sensitive information which could aid financial fraud. A common cliche which makes the rounds is that your 'safety lies in your own hands'. The same principle should be put to practice by customers while using debit/cards.
Debit and credit cards have become the most sought after medium of online shopping and making payment transactions. But as the Indian consumer gets increasingly dependent on plastic money for facilitating payments, they should also be a touch vigilant in safeguarding any possible breach of financial information, causing serious ramifications.
Here are fifteen critical tips on the secure use of debit and ATM cards:
1. Keep your PIN a secret - Memorise your PIN, and never write it on your card or store it with your card
2. Never stor your PIN on your phonebook: In case of loss of theft of your phone, this may cause a huge financial trouble for you as your phonebook is among the most common folder where people look for such information
3. Change your PIN frequently: It is advisable to change the PIN freqeuntly as this may lower the chances of hacking
4. Use secure connections during online transactions: Make a habit of checking the security level of the landing page during your online connection for hacking-proof transactions.
5. Keep a tab on your mail - Don’t provide your debit or credit card number, PIN or other personal information in response to an unsolicited email or online request
6. Be smart online - The web is a huge network and it subject to a lot of security breaches. So be careful when shopping online
7. Report loss of card with immediate effect - If your card is lost or stolen, report it to your financial institution right away. By notifying your bank or credit union immediately, you reduce the chance that your card will be used improperly
8. Review account statements from financial institution/credit union periodically - Make it a habit of looking a your debit/ credit card statements when you get them. Or better yet, sign up for electronic banking to get secure online access to your account
9. Always enter your card PIN yourself - Don’t let a cashier or anyone else enter the code, even if they are helping you with the transaction
10. Protect your card - If the magnetic stripe on the back of your card is damaged or demagnetised, the “swipe and buy” process cannot work. So don’t expose your card to magnetic objects, dirt and grit, keys or other objects that can nick the stripe
11. Ensure transaction completion - Before leaving an ATM terminal, ensure your ATM or debit transaction is complete
12. Be vigilant of your surroundings - Keep a tab of your surroundings before using a public terminal, such as a walk-up ATM in a mall or at a gas station
13. Have adequate company - Always be in company of a friend with you when using a public ATM or debit terminal at night or in a remote location
14. Vacate area on suspicious activity - If anyone or anything seems suspicious when you are using a public terminal, vacate the area immediately
15. Put away the cash in your wallets - Please put away the cash in your wallets before leaving the terminal. Go to a crowded, well-lit area immediately if someone follows you after you have conducted a transaction at a public terminal and inform the police