Following demonetisation, it seems like half of India at any given point is standing in a serpentine queue outside an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) kiosk. But don't let the stress of waiting make you lower your guard.
The fact is, ATMs have always been a popular target for criminals, and while cutting torches and explosives were popular tools of extracting money at one time, the digital age has smoothened things out for crooks — in fact, just last month, the State Bank of India was forced to block lakhs of debit cards after a spurt of "suspicious transactions" at third-party ATM machines.
Here are some precautionary measures everyone must take to protect their finances from ATM-related fraud and other crimes.
- Change your PIN frequently.
- Try using an ATM that is run by your own bank. This helps in maintaining confidentiality and in case of any breach or dispute, it remains within the ambit of your own bank and no other lender or "entity" is involved.
- Be careful when you are using your ATM. Nobody else should be present at the ATM kiosk while you are making the transaction.
- Shield the keypad when entering your PIN to keep it from being observed.
- If you don't travel outside the country frequently, call your bank and instruct them to block usage of your card in overseas locations. When you do travel, call your bank and ask them to unblock the card for temporary use.
- If you use your debit card outside the country, change your PIN upon your return.
- Contact your bank immediately in case of any discrepancy, unusual transaction, or if your receive calls on "fictitious" transactions.
- If using the ATM at night, take someone with you.
- Never share any information pertaining to your financial data or account on emails or text messages or even over the phone.
- Do not give your card number or PIN to any vendor.
- Do not allow a vendor to swipe your card if you are not present.
- Never put your date of birth as the PIN.
- Put your ATM card and receipt away promptly; never leave your receipt at the ATM.
- If the lights at the ATM are not working, don't use it.
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