As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Here are some tips on how to stay safe from Credit Card fraud and how to remove unauthorised charges on your Credit Card statement.
It has taken mankind a few million years to discover fire and the wheel. But when it comes to your Credit Card, it hopefully shouldn’t take that long to understand why it’s important to study your Credit Card statements before paying your bill.
When you get your Credit Card statement, do you jump to the total amount due section right away? After all, who has the time to go through the statement to look for discrepancies?
Well, this is bad Credit Card practice. You may think that you are careful with your card and nobody can misuse it, but that just isn’t true. There’s always a chance that someone may have misused your Credit Card details for purchases you haven’t authorised.
Sometimes these charges may not amount to much. But when they recur on a monthly basis they can certainly hurt you financially. There could also be other fraudulent charges on your card. You never know how and when these charges crop up. The only way to catch them is to examine your statement each month before paying your bill. All it takes is a little bit of your time and attention.
Media reports of the recent SBI Credit Card fraud story have brought Credit Card security to the fore. Hence it’s all the more important that all of us take good steps to keep our financial transactions safe. According to media reports, fraudsters made off with Rs. 5 crores after duping about 2,000 SBI Credit Card customers. The persons involved employed the time-tested method of calling customers and extracting their Credit Card details by posing as bank employees. What’s more shocking than the fraud is that in spite of multiple warnings and notices, we tend to overlook basic safety habits regarding our Credit Cards. It has been advertised time and again by almost all financial institutions that banks never ask for their card details or other sensitive information. So the next time you get a call from a bank asking for your card details, know it’s not a bank authorised person.
Promising ourselves to be careful, henceforth, here are some tips on how to stay safe from Credit Card fraud and how to remove unauthorised charges on your Credit Card statement.
Additional Reading: 10 Smart Ways to Avoid Credit Card Frauds
In recent years, banks have started advertising loudly that they do not ask their customers to reveal confidential information such as their netbanking passwords or Credit Card pin details.
This is due to a rise in the number of hoax calls where fraudsters pose as bank representatives and extract information from unsuspecting customers. We hope you have paid heed to these messages and are cautious when you receive calls from your bank (or someone posing as your bank representative).
Under no circumstance should you reveal your Credit Card information until and unless you have placed the call to the bank representatives yourself and providing your card details is absolutely necessary. Even so, never provide your card PIN, password and other details.
Additional Reading: Epic Credit Card Frauds And How To Avoid Them
Keep It Safe From Peeping Toms
Make sure your Credit Card is safe and out of sight from prying eyes at all times. When you dip into your bag or wallet to draw out your card for payment, make sure to keep it close in your palm.
The more the outside world can see it, the higher the chances of it being stolen or copied. The chip-and-pin security is indeed very strong and not easy to crack, but it won’t be wise to put it to test by being careless with your card, especially in public.
Additional Reading: Do Not Be Game To Fraud Attacks
Keep Your Card Safe From Online Fraudsters
The online world is far scarier than the real world. Very few know how to navigate it well. And those you know might pave the way to your Credit Card details.
The internet, like the real world, has safe areas and risky areas. Safe areas are popular websites of repute who constantly work to strengthen their encryption system. The risky ones, well, you get that fishy feeling when you look at them.
Clicking a link on a dubious website is a recipe for disaster. Even seemingly genuine links could turn out to be traps. This unauthorised method of collecting Credit Card information is called phishing. It is illegal and there is nothing much you can do about it other than being careful.
Always check the web address of a website before clicking away and providing your Credit Card details. A website starting with HTTPS will have an encryption system in place unlike a website starting with HTTP. Spot the missing ‘S’.
Additional Reading: How To Identify An Email Scam
The best way to stay safe is to stay alert. You know your bank sends you messages for each transaction. Always check these messages. Did the merchant swipe more than the authorised amount? Did a payment happen on your card when you did not even remove it from your wallet?
Check your statement. Are there transactions you have no idea of or are there transactions in a foreign currency? Well, these are your clues to call your bank’s customer care service and tell them about these charges. Fraudulent use of your Credit Card is better brought to your bank’s notice at the earliest.
Now, let’s assume your card has fallen victim to fraudulent use. What do you do then? Take the following steps to resolve the problem.
Credit Card usage is growing among Indians and so is Credit Card fraud. Hence it is important for you to sign up for services like passwords, PINs, OTPs and other options that will prevent your card details from falling in the wrong hands. Make sure you shop on reliable websites and don’t leave your card behind in brick and mortar stores. We’ll say it again! Check your Credit Card statements regularly.
Here’s what to do when you spot a fraudulent charge on your statement:
Call The Bank
Immediately! Dial the customer service number of your bank as soon as you spot the fraudulent charge. You don’t always have to wait for your Credit Card statement to land in your inbox. When you swipe your Credit Card a message is sent to your mobile phone.
If you have had nothing to do with this transaction, call the bank immediately. They can block the transaction and even block your card to snub further unauthorised usage. Always remember, when you sense something fishy, call the bank.
Your bank will block your card as soon as you raise a complaint. This should save you the hassle of making repeated calls to your bank. But just to be sure, it’s wiser to call your bank again in some time to confirm that your card is blocked.
If it is not blocked, send a mail to your bank clearly mentioning your complaint and remember to keep a copy of it. In case there is a dispute, your mail will work as proof of your claims. This will show that you had informed the bank as soon as you learnt about the fraudulent charges.
Additional Reading: Bank Account Wrongly Charged? Here’s What You Can Do!
Let’s Call The Banking Ombudsman
This is needed when nobody is willing to listen to your concerns. Who is a banking ombudsman? The banking ombudsman is a person appointed by the RBI to ensure that all customer grievances are answered. They approach the bank in question and help sort the issue out. So approach the banking ombudsman when all else fails.
Additional Reading: All About The Banking Ombudsman
Credit Card companies are aware of the possibility of fraudulent charges. Hence, they created something called a chargeback. What is a chargeback? It is something that buffers you against fraudulent charges and allows you to cancel charges that are unauthorised or incorrectly billed.
A fraudulent charge can lead to a dispute between the bank and the card owner regarding who should bear the brunt. A chargeback saves you from bearing the cost of unwanted charges.
How does the chargeback procedure work?
Essentially, a chargeback is where you request your card issuer to revert a certain charge back to your card and not pay the merchant. To go about it you have to file a chargeback claim with supporting documents within 180 days from the date of the purchase (fraudulent or unauthorised charge).
The date of the charge will be mentioned in your Credit Card statement. People can use this service to request to get money back that is due to the merchants. Hence, banks undertake their own investigation to confirm the validity of your request. If the banks find that your claims are true, then money is returned to your account.
Do wrongful charges affect my Credit Score?
No, they don’t. But if you don’t stop these charges, then they can make your bill really big and fat. And if you don’t pay your bill, then your Credit Score gets hurt.
Additional Reading: Safe Credit Card Practices You Should Be Following
The simple solution here is to be careful with your Credit Card and to make sure that you take all the relevant security steps to keep your card safe from prying eyes and hands.