Credit Card Fraud is a harsh reality of digital age. Though in India, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has done a commendable job to avoid credit card fraud. Some of the path breaking steps taken by RBI are
1. Two level authentication for online transactions. 1st level when you enter Credit Card details & CVV. 2nd level authentication is implementation of 3D Secure Code (Verified by VISA and Mastercard SecureCode)
2. Issuance of EMV Chip & PIN enabled Credit Cards
3. Option to select / set limit for International usage
4. Data Security standards for POS Terminals
5. SMS Alert to customer’s registered mobile no for every Credit Card transaction
6. OTP for IVR based transactions
Awesome, Isn’t it. In India, the probability of Credit Card fraud is negligible except due to negligence of user. An example of negligence is that user lost the wallet with Credit Card and in the wallet PIN of Credit Card was written on piece of paper.
Unfortunately, International scenario is not as secured as in India. Most of the credit card frauds are executed offshore i.e. Credit Card information is stolen in India and then the Credit Card is used outside India. Best part is for international transactions, you only need Credit Card No and 3 digit CVV No. Unlike India, there is no multi layer security authentication/verification. Its quite easy to carry out credit card fraud outside India. RBI or any law enforcement agency does not have any jurisdiction outside India. Last year, one of my friends credit card was used to make international transactions on dubious e-commerce website of African country. Now he has lost all the hopes to recover the amount. The double whammy for him was that he had to pay the amount else his CIBIL Score would have been impacted adversely. Moreover with stricter norms in India, no one can escape under the shield of Credit Card Fraud. The only point of consolation is that if the user prove his innocence by proving that credit card fraud happened due to bank or its employees ignorance/fault/collusion. In this case, Bank will compensate for the loss due to credit card fraud.
I am sharing 11 most important tips which can help you to avoid Credit Card fraud
Mask CVV No
Immediately after receiving the Credit Card, Remember CVV No and Mask/Scratch the same. You can mask with Permanent marker and than apply whitener coating over it.
Never Store Credit Card information online
Storing Credit Card Information online is most dangerous practice. Its an open invitation to credit card fraud. Recently while booking movie ticket on BookMyShow, the merchant offered me to save the Credit Card Details for next transaction. These e-commerce sites claim highest data security standards but recently Ebay’s 145 mn accounts were compromised so its safe to conclude that “WEB is not a safe place”.
A word of caution: On some e-commerce sites, the option to save Credit Card information for future transactions is by default selected. If you overlooked than without your knowledge, the information will be captured by merchant. The user has to very careful while making online transactions.
Avoid International Transactions, Avoid Credit Card Fraud
It is advisable not to use your Credit Card abroad and even avoid using Credit Card on International E-Commerce websites. If you are 100% sure about the merchant’s credibility & reputation than you may consider. I am currently using my credit card to make payment to Amazon for using their business applications. Offline transactions are also risky as Credit Card Skimming is very common at POS terminals in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, African Countries etc
Credit Card Transactions at Petrol Pump
According to recent study, Credit Card Transaction at Petrol Pump is most unsafe. It is one of the favorite location for credit card skimming thus credit card fraud. We tend to handover Credit Card to pump attendant and Credit Card is unattended for 10-15 mins. The probability of Credit Card Skimming is high at Petrol Pumps specially the petrol pumps on highways & remote locations. Crux is that Credit Card should not be unattended and all Credit Card transactions should be in front of you. Secondly, don’t use Credit Card at Petrol Pumps on Highways and Remote locations to avoid credit card fraud.
URL in Browser
Before making any online payment, Please check the URL in Web Browser. Normally the URL starts with “http” whereas secured URL’s have extra “s” i.e. secured URL will start with “https”. In-fact Google Chrome will show “https” in Green color if the URL is secured and site name will also appear in green.
Reputed SSL Seals & Trust Seals
As a thumb rule, you should make all online transactions only on websites with reputed SSL/Trust seals
SSL Seals: Norton Security Seal, Thawte, Trustwave, COMODO & GeoTrust
Trust Seals: McAfee Secure, TRUSTe & BBB Accredited.
SSL Seals are more reliable & secure as they suggest Technical Security of Payment whereas Trust Seals are only reputation certification. To avoid credit card fraud rely on SSL Seals.
Use of Credit Card on Public Computer
Public computers are most vulnerable for Credit Card Fraud. Never ever use Credit Card in cyber cafe, friends place or even in office. Always trust your own Desktop / Laptop for online transactions. Use reputed Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware & Firewall to avoid any data theft.
Credit Card Photocopy as Id Proof / Authorization letter
A Credit Card with Photograph is also accepted as valid Id proof e.g. for bank account opening etc. In case, you booked air ticket for your friend or family member, an authorization letter with xerox of credit card is required. We tend to give xerox of both front and back side of credit card. Some unaware users don’t even hide CVV on back side thus vulnerable to credit card fraud. Please note that it is not necessary to give xerox of back side of credit card. Only front side is sufficient.
Recently, i was in meeting with my client and suddenly she received call. The caller told her that bank is going to forfeit all her reward points as they expired day before. Caller also informed that her reward points are worth 20,000 and if she would like to retain than she need to verify details by sharing credit card details. Basically the caller created panic situation & linked it to monetary loss. In such situations our brain stop logical thinking. As i was listening to entire conversation, i told her to pass mob to me. She told caller that she is driving and i will share the details. I asked the caller how many points she has in her credit card and what is banks policy regarding same. The caller was blank and told she got only mob no from bank’s database. In-fact caller was also not aware in which bank my client hold credit card. It was fraudulent call and i insisted my client to register FIR.
To avoid credit card fraud never ever trust incoming calls. f you receive any such call than call back bank’s helpline to check the truth.
Credit Card payment through Mobile / Mobile Apps
These days you might have observed that lot many merchants are promoting online mobile apps. I used RedBus, Flipkart, BookMyShow etc. These apps allow you to make payment over mobile app through Credit Card. Personally, i will not suggest any credit card payment through Mobile apps to avoid credit card fraud. In a recent article published in Business Standard, a survey done by Japanese security firm Trend Micro revealed that 39 Payment Gateways, 15 Bank related mobile Apps and other Mobile apps, Shopping apps, Social Networking Apps and Health Care apps used by Indian users are vulnerable to credit card fraud.
Prevention is better than Cure
If the situation demands and you carried out any risky/vulnerable transaction than immediately cancel your Credit Card and apply for replacement of credit card. In short, if you foresee or anticipate any Credit Card fraud than apply for replacement of credit card.
I hope above mentioned tips will help you safe & secure credit card transactions. Remember Credit Card is alternative of cash and to avoid credit card fraud is the sole responsibility of the user.
Copyright © Nitin Bhatia. All Rights Reserved.