Friday, January 7, 2011

Avoid Debit/Credit Frauds

When a credit/debit card transaction could not be completed online, the credit card company helpline was contacted. It was found that a prior phone-call notice was needed before any transactions. The notice was given on phone as required and the transactions was safely made online. It was a safety precaution to prevent unauthorized transactions.

In another case, a credit/debit card statement shocked someone when they noted that it had mentioned an expensive purchase that they had never made. On being contacted, their bank confirmed amount of a hefty amount a few days back.

The money was never recovered despite much effort and correspondence with the bank and the credit/debit card institution. Happenings of credit/debit card fraud may not be so frequent on any specific country but they are definitely on the rise.

There are many ways thieves use to steal your money through your credit/debit (ATM) cards. For instance, an ATM card skimming device resembling a part of ATM machine can record a video of typing your personal identification number (PIN). A duplicate keypad may be placed over the actual one, recording the sequence of keying in. A cyber crook can pick up vital information through phishing and use it for credit card fraud.

Thieves managed to have their your card jammed in the machine. A helpful stranger approaches and suggests that you try to key in your PIN but the card remains stuck. As you leave, the card is removed. He already has your PIN number.

An unscrupulous clerk swipes the card to record the vital information into a hidden device which allows them to make a duplicate of the card. Your PIN information is recorded at the same time.

The sales clerk uses a bogus PIN pad that copies your card and its information and issues a fake transactions receipt but does not actually pays cash for the purchase and uses the information to take out money from your account.

Observing a few safety precautions can protect you from credit/debit card fraud:
  • Protect your card, specially your PIN code. Do not share it with anyone. If you suspect someone has discovered your PIN code, change it immediately.
  • Memorize your PIN. Do  not write it on or near your credit/debit card.
  • Avoid using personal information such as your house phone or phone number or date of birth for you PIN number.
  • Use your credit/debit card at a familiar place such as a bank branch where the ATM is constantly under surveillance by the bank employees.
  • Before and during making a withdrawl, keep an eye on your surroundings. If you notice a suspicious activity, leave the place immediately.
  • Using an ATM during the late hours, choose one that is not isolated and is being used by other people.
  • Avoid using an ATM with strange protruding attachments. Report to police or the bank authority if you find a suspicious attachment.
  • Make it a habit to cover the movement of your fingers on the keypad when typing in your PIN number to avoid being recorded on a hidden camera or from intruders.
  • Closely review your online bank account every week so that you know if a fraudulent withdrawl is made.
  • Count the cash at the terminal and put it away safely in your pocket or handbag before you move away. Collect the receipt and your card. Never walk away from the ATM with cash in hand.
  • Report lost or stolen cards as soon as possible you no longer need them.
  • Tear up your receipts as soon as you no longer need them.
  • To protect your money, designate a separate credit/debit card for internet shopping to keep track of your online purchases. An ''https''  in a URL address signifies a safe website and you can confidently enter sensitive information. Sites displaying certification symbols such as VERISIGN Trust Seal can also be trusted. You can also ask your credit/debit card company about getting a virtual account number that's good for only one purchase from a specific vendor.
You must notify your bank and the credit/debit card institution as soon as you are aware of a fraud. Keep a detailed written record of the incident. You may be quizzed about the circumstances of the loss to ensure that you had no part in the fraudulent transaction.

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