ATM frauds on the rise: 5 steps you can take after being scammed
It has come to light that there has been a spectacular spike in ATM fraud cases in the country. A recent mysterious case in Haryana’s Gurugram is a stark reminder of such ATM and plastic cash card related frauds in the country. In the particular case, at least 50 people who used their debit/credit cards at an HDFC Bank ATM in Unitech Cyber Park in Gurugram’s Sector 45 lost lakhs despite having their respective cards with them.
The case came to light when the victims received text messages on their cell phone informing them that money was being withdrawn from their accounts without their knowledge. What is most surprising is that the complainants were in possession of their debit cards at the time of the theft. It may be noted that the FIR was registered after the customers approached the bank, complaining that they have been receiving text messages on their mobile phones about repeated money withdrawals. However, this is definitely not the first such case. Last year, around 200 people were duped in Bengaluru of thousands of rupees by fraudsters; a total of Rs 6 lakhs was stolen in that particular case by using methods such as debit/card cloning.
With rising ATM frauds and cyber-hacks in the country, even you may get scammed for being careless while using plastic cards at ATMs. While it is difficult to prevent such frauds in all cases as it involves complex steps like card skimming or stealing of plastic card data, cash shimming, card trapping, ATM malware, card cloning and keypad jamming among other things, here are some steps you should take to recover the money you lost owing to the fraudulent transaction:
Get your card blocked: The first step that you or any other user who has received a message pertaining to a fraudulent transaction should block the card. If your card has already been hacked or cloned, there is no way you can prevent fraud withdrawals from ATMs without blocking your card. This is why, even before filing an FIR, you are requested to report it to the bank.
Reduce your liability: In most cases, when a user is unaware of the fraudulent transaction, he/she does not have to be liable for the amount lost. The RBI, in a notification, released July 6, 2017, revised norms to limit the liabilities of a fraud victim emerging from such cases. It may be noted that a customer has zero liability under two conditions:
* Contributory fraud/negligence or deficiency on the bank’s part, irrespective of whether or not the transaction is reported by the customer
* Any kind of third-party breach where the deficiency lies neither with the bank nor with the customer but somewhere else in the system. However, in this case, the customer has to report to unauthorised transaction to the bank within three working days of receiving the communication.
However, there are certain cases where the customer will have limited liability in cases of such fraudulent transactions.
* In a case where the loss or fraud has occurred due to negligence by the customer, where payment/card credentials have been shared with a third-party, the customer is liable to bear the entire loss until he reports the unauthorised transaction to the bank. However, any loss that follows after the matter has been reported to the respective bank will be borne by the bank, according to the RBI notification.
* Another scenario where the limited liability of a customer applies is pertaining to cases where the responsibility of the unauthorised transaction lies neither with the bank nor with the customer but lies in the system. However, the limited liability clause only applies when there is a delay of four to seven working days after receiving the communication about the fraud. In such a scenario, the per transaction liability of the customer shall be limited to the transaction value the amount mentioned in the RBI notification, whichever is lower.
(Photo credit: Reserve Bank of India circular)
Report the fraud at the earliest to the bank: within three days for zero liability: If you report the transaction within three days, you will have zero liability in the fraud and are eligible to get the entire amount. If the delay is 4-7 days, the transaction value or amount mentioned in the image of the table above, whichever is lower. However, if it is reported beyond seven working days, the customer liability shall be determined in accordance with the bank’s board approved the policy.
File an FIR: Another step that you must take in case of ATM fraud is report it to the nearest police station and file a First Information Report (FIR). It is extremely important to do so as it will act as an official record of the incident. Also, reporting the incident may also help in taking proactive action against the measure.
Be prepared for the next time: You should know that with rising ATM frauds in the country, the government has made it mandatory to use smart chip cards, replacing the traditional magnetic counterparts. If you are still using a magnetic plastic cash card, it is necessary that you approach your bank and get it changed. The smart chip card adds a new layer of security, making it hard to tamper with. Also, next time while withdrawing cash, make sure that you do not share any data with a third party and be on the lookout for eavesdroppers.