Country’s largest bank State Bank of India and its subsidiary banks blocked about 6.25 lakh debit cards of their customers. 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 thirteen critical tips on the secure use of debit and ATM cards:
1. Keep your PIN a secret - Memorize your PIN, and never write it on your card or store it with your card
2. 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
3. Be smart online - The web is a huge network and it subject to a lot of security breaches. So be careful when shopping online, whether you’re buying gifts
4. 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
5. 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
6. Always enter your card pin - Don’t let a cashier or anyone else enter your PIN, even if they are helping you with the transaction
7. Protect your card - If the magnetic stripe on the back of your card is damaged or demagnetized, 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
8. Ensure transaction completion - Before leaving an ATM terminal, ensure your ATM or debit transaction is complete
9. 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
10. 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
11. Vacate area on suspicious activity - If anyone or anything seems suspicious when you are using a public terminal, vacate the area immediately
12. Put away the cash in your wallets - Please put away the cash in your wallets before before leaving the terminal13. 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