What To Do When Your Financial Data is Stolen

By | January 3, 2017


Did you know financial theft is the most common form of identity theft in the world? Technology has made us vulnerable to cyber crime more than we can imagine. Today, we willingly give away our passwords on the internet while shopping online, without thinking twice about security repercussions.

Additional Reading: Debit Card Hack: Teaching Children How To Transact Online Safely

Don’t worry! Your passwords usually go through several layers of security and all your transactions are protected by a PIN or OTP. However, if you sense something fishy, or lose your Debit or Credit Card, here’s what you should do:

  • Don’t Panic

This might sound obvious, but more often than not we start to run around like headless chickens when we find out our financial data has been compromised. Keep calm and breathe deep.

  • Immediately Freeze The Affected Account

Call your bank or financial service provider IMMEDIATELY and place a request to block or freeze the account that you think has been tampered with. Check the cheques you wrote for clearing and keep track of the numbers. Block any cheques that haven’t been cleared yet and lock down the account.

  • Follow Up

Follow up with the merchant or company that your card was used at. You could ask them to transfer the money that was fraudulently spent on their product or service. Work with them and the bank to correct your billing and account statements.

  • Lodge a Complaint

If you have lost your Debit or Credit Card, you’ve got to file a First Information Repot (FIR) at your nearest police station and get a receipt of acknowledgement from the police.

You will then have to give a written application with your card number and/or account number and the date you lost your card. Attach the receipt of the FIR with the application and request your bank to issue a new card. Most banks do it for free or for a minimum charge of Rs.100.

Most Banks also have a zero liability policy attached to their Debit or Credit Cards, which means you won’t have to pay up in case your card has been used fraudulently in the period between the loss of the card and you informing the bank.

Additional Reading: 4 Ways To Protect Your Debit Card From Cyber Crooks

Banks have this policy in place to protect their customers. Some of them require you to report a theft or loss within a certain period of time. It usually ranges from 7 days to a few weeks. If you report your loss/theft within the stipulated number of days, you can avail the zero liability policy. Or you could simply close the affected account and open a new one.

Additional Reading: Mobile Banking Safety 101

How to Safeguard Financial Data Online?

In a tech-driven world, one can virtually buy anything over the internet. However, it leaves our financial data remarkably vulnerable. While most reliable merchants use a safe gateway to redirect your payments, it doesn’t hurt to follow these tips while shopping online.

  • Attention To Detail

A little attention to details could save you a lot of financial chagrin. Whenever you’re paying online, look for a little lock sign at the top left of your address bar. Also, make sure your link has an “s” in the https://. The “s” stands for “secure socket layer,” which ensures the data is encrypted.

  • Be Mysterious

Make sure you set strong, extremely hard-to-guess passwords for your financial accounts. Always use a combination of lowercase, uppercase, special characters and numbers in your password. Be sure to change your passwords every 30 days. Never share your PIN or password with anybody.

  • Mode of Authentication

Always have a One Time Password (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number to approve a transaction. That way nothing goes unnoticed and all of your transactions are only approved by you.

  • Logging Out

While most banks have an auto-session-expire feature on their internet banking services, it is always advisable to log out of your banking and other shopping accounts once you have completed your transaction.

Additional Reading: Online Shopping: Safety Checklist

Being financially alert is a responsibility. Developing financial discipline isn’t that hard either. Find out how financial habits could affect your future?

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