mid-day editorial: Keep your cards close to your chest

In the last few months, the nation has made a significant shift towards a cashless economy as envisioned by PM Modi. Digitisation of numerous services has ensured that plastic, not paper money, is the way forward. But, technology is almost always accompanied by risks. So, the rise in debit and credit card fraud, ATM hacking and bank phishing does not come as a surprise.

This week, the Bandra police busted three members of a gang, who duped people at restobars and dance bars in the heart of the city.

The trio cloned customers' debit/credit cards and stole money from those accounts. After zeroing in on a victim, they took the patron's card to a cloning decide and copied the information on to another blank card's magnetic strip. Since people often hand over their PINs to staffers at restaurants for bill payment, the trio had easy access to the money.

These incidents underscore the need to be careful when using cards. If you choose to pay using plastic money, the idea is to never lose sight of the card. If you are preoccupied at the time of bill payment, hold financial transactions till you finish the job in hand. Beware of any person asking for the PIN of your card — those with ulterior motives often tend to say the machine is in another room so they can make you part with the card for some time. Don't hand over your card at any cost.

Always keep a wary eye on staffers operating the card swipe machines. Look out for people hovering in the immediate background trying to catch the ATM PIN in cases where you are punching it in. If a transaction is being processed for an abnormally long duration, you have the right to question it. There is a fine line between paranoia and watchfulness. Do not overstep it, but do not let people tell you that being alert and cautious is unnecessary.

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