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Smart tips to minimise credit card fraud

August 23, 2017 09:08 IST

'In restaurants, the waiter takes your card and then comes back with the machine. Don't allow that.'
'Let him come to you with the machine and then enter the card and the PIN yourself.'
Experts share their gyan with Sanjay Kumar Singh.

How to read and understand your credit card statement

Recently, Raj Kumar (name changed on request), a Delhi-based writer, lost Rs 60,000 to credit card fraud.

His card was used to make a purchase in London even though he had never left Indian shores.

With card frauds being easy to carry out in foreign countries once a criminal has obtained your card details, card owners need to learn how such frauds happen and take steps to safeguard themselves.

In many foreign countries, you don't need two factor authentication.

At a point of sale in India, you need your card and a PIN.

To carry out an Internet transaction you need your card details and an OTP (one time password) that comes to your phone just before the transaction.

"Two factor authentication is required in very few countries. In most developed countries, no PIN is required in a card present transaction and no OTP in a card-not-present transaction," says Udbhav Tiwari, policy officer at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bengaluru.

Hence, anyone who has obtained your card details can misuse it.

Some of the details a criminal needs to use your card abroad are name on the credit card, card number, expiry date and CVV.

There are a number of ways these details can be stolen.

The easiest way to do so is through physical access to your card.

Sometimes they get captured by keyloggers present on your computer, which copy them while you are entering them to carry out a transaction.

Often in such frauds, the shop owner or salesperson at the point of sale abroad is in collusion with criminals.

"When an Indian goes overseas and uses his Indian card, according to Visa and Mastercard guidelines the shop owner is supposed to ask for proof of identity before letting him use the card. The person in the shop abroad would not have allowed the use of an Indian card unless he was in collusion," says Sivarama Krishnan, partner and leader-cyber security, PwC India.

To guard against frauds abroad, first, disable the option to use the card abroad.

"You can disable the international transaction option via net banking. Enable it only when you need it and then disable it immediately after," says Tiwari.

This option is available for both credit and debit cards.

Certain banks, while sending the OTP, also say you should get in touch with the bank immediately, if you have not carried out the transaction.

In such cases, call the bank to block the transaction.

Also, if the transaction has been processed, approach the bank with passport details (if the transaction has been done abroad) as proof that you were in the country during that time.

Guard physical access to your card and don't let anyone note the details on it.

Don't hand over your card to anyone in a shop or restaurant and allow them to take it out of sight.

"In restaurants, it is a prevalent practice that the waiter takes your card and then comes back with the machine. Don't allow that. Let him come to you with the machine and then enter the card and the PIN yourself," says Krishnan.

A large number of such frauds are emanating from restaurants in recent times, he adds.

Also be wary of using your card in countries such as Nepal and Thailand as incidents of card detail thefts are reported regularly from these countries.

To prevent keyloggers from capturing the card details, use a good antivirus.

The other option is to use virtual keyboards.

Some sophisticated keyloggers can get around a virtual keyboard also, but most can't.

Use your cards only on reliable and well-known Web sites.

An obscure one could be a phishing site that captures and misuses your card details.

Finally, if your card does get misused, report it immediately as every minute counts.

Photograph: Kind courtesy PixaBay.com

Sanjay Kumar Singh
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