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Chip-based debit cards not as safe as you think; frauds are smarter

Kaloor resident loses H40,000 despite having such a card; fraudsters skim data from ATMs or POS machines; they clone cards to withdraw money or buy products

Published: 02nd November 2019 07:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2019 07:09 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI:  If you think the new chip-based ATM cards are safe for transactions, you are extremely wrong. As many as 10 persons have lodged complaints with Kochi City police in the past couple of days alleging fraud using fake debit cards as they have not shared their PIN, CVV or other confidential information to anyone. Even after the introduction of chip-based debit and credit cards with enhanced safety features that are designed to prevent card skimming and cloning, banking frauds are still rampant.

Fifty-five-year-old Thomas Mathew, a resident of Judges Avenue, Kaloor and radiographer with a multi-specialty hospital in the city, lost Rs 40,000 from his account on October 11. He came to know that the money was withdrawn from an ATM counter located in Perandoor. Even as he reached the bank requesting to block the card, the fraudster was trying to loot the money. However, the culprit could not swindle more money as the maximum limit for the day’s transactions had reached. Later, he filed complaints with the Cyber Cell, Maradu, and Ernakulam North police stations and bank authorities. 

He heaved a sigh of relief only the bank authorities promised him that the money lost would credited back to his account within 90 days. “The fraudulent transaction occurred at 5.15am and I came to know of it through a message only by 12 noon. Even when I reached the bank to lodge a complaint, the perpetrator was trying to withdraw money and he stopped the attempt only by 2.57pm. He had done four transactions within three minutes,” said Mathew. 

“I have not not using this debit card for ATM transactions. I use it only at petrol bunks. Hence I suspect that the details of the card were leaked from one of the petrol stations,” he added. Viswanathan, a native of Vyttila, also lost money in a similar way a couple of days ago. 

How it’s done
When swiping a magnetic-stripe card, the payment processor reads its magnetic field and matches it with the customer’s bank account information. “The problem with this is that the data is static, making it easier for fraudsters to lift your information and clone it onto a new card,” said a police officer.

Kochi City Cyber Cell SI Y T Pramod said the fraudsters install skimmers on ATM keypads or POS machines or hidden cameras at ATM counters. “After noticing the finger patterns when the customer enters the PIN from the footage, they do transactions with fake cards. Besides, in a majority of accounts, the international transaction option is active and the fraudsters commit fraud from abroad without having to obtain the PIN or CVV number this way,” he added.

10 people lodge complaint
As many as 10 people have lodged complaints with Kochi City police in the past couple of days alleging fraud using fake debit cards. Even after the introduction of chip-based debit and credit cards with enhanced safety features, banking frauds are still rampant.



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