There is no escape from technology. Like it or not, we are all being dragged into the digital era - some joyously and some kicking and screaming.
Darshak is a young man, who even pays his chaiwalla with his digital wallet. Just like in the ads. One February in Sunday, that act of paying digitally literally scalded his throat. He was in a class for Financial Modelling, when he got two text messages. One saying his bank account had been debited by Rs 4523/- and a few minutes later, debited a second time with an amount of Rs. 10000/-.
Since he was in class, his phone was on silent and he only saw the messages about half an hour later, in his chai break - and then had a mini heart attack! His bank account was wiped clean. His debit and credit cards were with him. It was a Sunday.... what was going on?
Most of us know or can guess what happened. Somehow, a fraudster had managed to get his bank details and swiped out all the money from his savings account!
Lots of tips for those who ever have the misfortune of having to deal with this.
- Call your bank and block your cards to prevent any further misuse. (make sure you have that number on speed dial)
- You need to go, with an application letter, asking for an FIR stating all the details of the transactions, including your bank details. A "presence certificate/letter" would be very useful, if someone can vouch for where you were at the time of the fraud. The presence letter should state who you were with when the transaction took place. In these days of lockdown, not sure how you will be able to go!
- The inspector will ask you a bunch of questions and when satisfied, stamp your application letter. Carry copies of all paperwork and ask the police station to stamp all of them
- The police dispatch department will take the original, stamp a photocopy and then send the original to your bank.
- It doesn't end there. You have to take the photocopies, the presence letter copy, your original PAN card/Aadhaar card and all your debit, credit card, savings account details and go to the nearest bank branch of your bank (where the fraud happened)- NOT your home branch.
- The special banking fraud department will accept the papers and you will get a text message with a complaint registration no. Usually, if a bank plans to return the money, it will be credited to your account in 21-30 days.
So what can we do to minimise our risks:
- Whenever you use online banking, use the "virtual keyboard" which almost all websites provide. It shuffles the characters, making it quite hard for fraudsters to steal your pin or password. (It's quite a pain to use, but keep reminding yourself it's worse to lose the money). Make sure the site address always shows https - the 's' is crucial
- Don't leave too much money in your savings account. Best to park in mutual funds like liquid and overnight funds - access within 24 hours and a slightly higher return. Fraudsters still haven't figured out to go after these, thank goodness.
- If you make payments on debit/credit cards online, try not to save the details on any website. As we know, this data has been stolen from so many well-known sites. Also, have two credit cards - one with very low limits, which you use online.
- Avoid using debit cards online.
- The Govt has encouraged us to use digital wallets like PayTM, Google Pay, RuPay and a host of others. Some, not all, ask for your bank details - account number, etc. Avoid using these. Especially avoid giving your CVV number ( those 3 little numbers on the back of your credit card) to anyone.
- Re-load using net banking, where you don't have to give all this information. And use the virtual keyboard.
- Many of us have our banks' mobile apps loaded on our phones. Dicey - best use your laptop or computer for transactions.
You could also watch JamTara on Netflix to figure out more ways that we get taken for a ride!
In the meantime, Darshak is holding his breath, wondering if he will ever get his money back! Something tells me that he will not pay his chai-walla with his digital wallet in the near future!