Data from an RTI query shows that between the two years spanning January 2015 to December 2017, in excess of 57,000 debit & credit card frauds have been reported in the country. The aggregate amount involved in this fraud was over Rs 290 crore, which on average translates to an exposure/loss per card of over Rs 50,000. Some people reading this piece of statistics may get unduly worried about the ‘spectre of fraud’ looming over their cards and electronic banking transactions and may be dissuaded from using electronic payments at all.
Allowing a slight detour, and staggering as this may also seem, India records over 1.5 lakh deaths and over 5 lakh injuries in road accidents annually, i.e. over 400 deaths and about 1,400 people injured in road accidents daily. Looks horrendous? Yes, of course! But that does not stop us from commuting daily on the roads, albeit by adopting more awareness & safety measures. The same is the case with electronic banking and payment card transactions. We need to be aware to be secure.
For effective containment of payment card or cyber frauds, there are a number of precautions that we can take as individuals. The safety of our electronic transactions begins with us, and our banks and service providers are also adding muscle to these efforts to enhance the security of our transactions.
It will be music to your ears to know that your bank or financial institution have experts who work 24/7 to monitor millions of transactions happening through their customers’ cards. Using rule-based alerts configured and calibrated to each unique cardholder’s profile, the officers view the alerts and exceptions triggered by the risk assessment engines and investigate the cases carefully to weed out false-positive ones. The alerts are then actioned speedily and decisively to ensure that losses owing to card misuse and merchant misdemeanour are kept to the minimum. Suspicious merchant payments are put on hold until the transactions are scrutinized and documents & circumstances surrounding any highlighted transactions are verified. Cards that are potentially or otherwise compromised are blocked and replaced. With Artificial Intelligence getting integrated in most major banks’ transaction management systems, self-learning engines have the capability to discern the trends and adapt to the evolving fraud scenario. These engines analyse and build a score or risk-quotient for each transaction, pushing the most important cases at the top of queues for an analyst’s review & attention.
Since our financial institutes work so hard to protect us, it is our responsibility to lend a helping hand. That starts with being a wise individual consumer. Some of the precautions that you must take at all times, include protecting the integrity of your banking and card accounts and credentials. You must not be greedy when someone offers you free benefits that seem too good to be true for sharing your card or account details, or go into a panic mode either when your “Bank” or “Credit Card Company” calls you or writes you to tell you that you must give some card / account related information, or else your card / account will be blocked.
Never give complete card information or any One-Time Passwords (OTPs) that you receive as part of the transaction. Guard your PIN zealously and memorize it, instead of writing it down. Never click on a link embedded in an SMS/ MMS or email ostensibly sent by your bank to confirm some details. If in doubt, always call the published 24-Hr Contact Centre number of your bank. And if fraud does indeed happen on the card, immediately call your bank to block & replace the card, apart from filing a fraud complaint quickly with the authorities.
Your quick action, demonstrated good faith and provable non-negligence will greatly limit your actual financial loss, or it might even be zero, as the Regulator wants financial Institutions to help the genuine customers. Some other precautions to adopt include using legitimate operating system/ software & applications on your computer or mobile devices, and keeping the same updated. As it turns out, simple precautions prevent a lot of grief.
(By Niranjankumar Laxman Upadhye, General Manager-Fraud Risk Management, Worldline India)