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Be the Winner: Survive Identity Thefts

Monday, August 06, 2012 by Rajiv Raj

it103n3In April of 2012, credit card theft worth Rs 4-5 crore was reported in Hyderabad. The group of Credit Card thieves had used skimming machines to copy credit card data of cardholders, used spy cameras in ATMS to pick up PIN number of ATM users and transferred money across bank accounts in India. 

Few days later, another Credit card fraud was reported in Ahmedabad whereby the fraudsters had used a similar technique of cloning the credit card details of card holders, using the torn credit cards, stealing the swipe machines from the mall.

In this age of technology, the Credit Card thieves are getting smarter with help of sophisticated machines and cameras. But have you become smarter and more cautious?

Most of us want to shop fast. We give the card to the vendor, sign the receipt and take our stuff. But the smiling salesman who swipes the card might just swipe our bank balance by copying the card and the PIN number. 

Following simple precautions while using credit or debit cards can protect us from credit card fraudsters such as those found in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Here is a rulebook you should follow to outsmart the credit card fraudsters.

>Sign up: As soon as you get a new credit or debit card, sign up on the back side strip in exactly the way you usually sign.

>Shopping Frequently? Use your credit card, instead of a debit card, for frequent transactions with newer or small vendors.

>Eating out Often? Make sure that the restaurant vendor swipes the card in your presence only.

>Tear it into Pieces: Credit statements, ATM slips, customer copy of card transactions shouldn't be seen by unknown persons and should be shredded to tiny pieces before they go to the dustbin. If you are moving places, make sure you get the address updated in the bank records, so that the card statement doesn't reach your old address.

>Stay Connected with the Bank: Register your mobile number and the email id with the bank right away. Most banks will send an SMS alert as soon as any transaction is being done.

>Don't Bare it All: Identity thieves could be on a look out for your personal information such as date of birth, PAN card details. So think twice before you share such information on Facebook or Linkedin.

>Be Greedy and Pay the Price: People who got duped by credit card thieves in Hyderabad were lured into a free mobile recharge scheme at a mall. In Ahmedabad, the thieves promised to get a higher credit limit on the customer's credit cards. In both cases, when the card was being swiped, the information was copied to another machine.

Often, online retailers will entice you with free credit card or insurance policies. Don't ever click on that check box, which may often go unnoticed if you are in a hurry.

MadanRajiv Raj

Rajiv is a credit expert with 10 years of experience in personal finance and consumer banking industry and another 7 years in credit bureau sector. Rajiv was instrumental in setting up India’s first credit bureau, Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL). He has also worked with Citibank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank and Experian in various capacities.

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