Saturday, March 21, 2009

PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE WITH YOUR DEBIT /CREDIT CARDS

We all use debit and credit cards in our daily lives for multiple purposes right from cash withdrawal to shopping in malls to online shopping to paying bills , the list is endless. While it does offer a great convenience value to us, it also requires us to be little cautious while using it. To ensure that your card is not misused by anyone, there are few precautions which you must take with your card. They are:
1. NEVER SHARE YOUR PIN - The first thumb rule is that you should NEVER share your ATM/DEBIT/Credit card PIN number with anyone. The PIN number is a unique identification number meant for you and not for anyone else. So keep it that way.
2. HAVE ALPHA NUMERIC PIN – After you get your card , the card company sends you a computer generated PIN which is to be used for the first time post which you are encouraged to change PIN . While changing PIN, the mistake most people do is that they choose the obvious ones like ones birth date, Car number, Street number etc. The problem with these PIN are that they are easy to decode for anyone. If people know you then chances are that they might also know your birthday, Car number, Street number etc. So, you must not go for these obvious ones as you PIN. Instead always go in for alpha-numeric PIN. For example
dilbert@546, mickey#65, America@964 etc. These are difficult for anyone to decode and hence provide better protection to you against hackers/fraudsters etc.
3. BLACKEN THE CVV NUMBER – The back side of the debit and credit cards
have the CVV number (3 digit number) which is critical for all online transactions. I suggest that you should blacken the CVV number on the card and instead either note it down somewhere else or still better just memorize it. This will ensure that in case you loose your card , it cant be used for online transactions.
4. STAY ALERT OF PHISING ON NET – Lot of fraudsters out their use internet to
defraud people. The modus operandi is very simple. They generally send a mail to the user which looks like a mail from the bank , and ask the user to verify their bank account or card details for the banks requirement. The mail will be very similar to the original bank’s mail and would appear to have come from the bank only, on cursory look. They sometimes also design sites which are similar in look and feel to the banks original website and hence it works for them. So, what should you do? I suggest as a matter of principle, NEVER reply or validate or confirm your bank or card details on internet. No bank I know of asks its users to do so.
5. WATCH OUT FOR SKIMMERS – Some fraudsters use a machine called skimmers which copies the details of the card marked on the magnetic strip of the card . This way they can create a duplicate card and use it. This is generally done at ATM centre, petrol pumps, restaurants etc. So always look out for loose wires, tampering etc from ATM machines, swiping machines etc. They might have skimmers in it. Also never leave your card with anyone for long.
6. DON’T LET CASHIER ENTER PIN FOR YOU – While paying for shopping bill from a debit card , we are required to enter the PIN n umber on the swiping machine. Never let the cashier enter it for you. You must enter your PIN number yourself.

Once you do these, I am pretty sure that chances of you falling prey to any misuse/fraud will be next to nothing.

Stay wise n Stay wealthy….

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