Fraud – Beware

I got a call from my credit card issuing bank yesterday. Such calls are not unusual, when they call to check whether I had used my card in some transaction exceeding some specified amount just then. I confirm the transaction and they are happy.

But this call was different.

The caller said that my card has been “cloned”. I said “what ? how is that possible………etc.,”. He stated that I had used the card in some transaction recently, and that transaction has led to suspicion by the Visa / Mastercard agencies that my card has been tampered with. I had no such indication. When I got back home, I checked all the transactions for the last couple of months, and everything seemed to be in order. But the caller had asked for my permission to restrict my daily card-spending limit to a pre-specified / agreed amount, and informed that new card will be sent out to me in a week’s time, for both of which points I had to agree. There seemed to be no choice, when there is genuine doubt that the card has been compromised.

I did a bit of research, and found that a credit card can be cloned in less than 2 minutes. I also happened to read in the newspapers that several credit card frauds have been detected of late, with the gangs involved being busted and arrested.

Wow !

I had this false sense of security that the card is a safe bet anywhere, anytime. I hardly carry cash, and depend on my credit card for virtually all retail transactions. I was even happy to learn that credit card machines would be installed in Mumbai Taxis.

Now, I am a bit deflated. May be carrying some cash is not a bad idea – how about INR 500 ?!!!! or something more ????

As technology progresses, it helps both the users and the cheats. We have to constantly protect ourself. Like we do with our computers and internet connections at home. No amount of security seems to be enough against the phishers and fraudsters.

Well, time to arm oneself with better tools and techniques, and constantly watch out !


Vijay Srinivasan
29th May 2010


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