The other day, I got a Whatsapp forward stating that if someone forces you to use an ATM to withdraw money,  you type your pin in the reverse order, it will go to the nearest police station.  A complete hoax.  If that’s the case and if you have a palindrome as a pin, police station would be flooded with alerts whenever you use ATM.



Safeguarding Your Card

Some precautions to be kept in mind when using your card.

  1. Always use a high security smart or chip card.  The new chip card provides a better security than your strip based card.
  2. Register your mobile number and email id with your bank and check these regularly for card usage alerts.  If you find anything suspicious, alert the bank without losing any time. Read: Credit Card Frauds – What to do ?
  3. Never ever type your pin in front of others.  If the merchant machine or ATM does not have a cover to type the pin, use your other hand to cover what you are typing.  Your PIN is your private property, and no one has any right to see it.
  4. Never disclose your pin to others.  I have seen one customer shouting loudly in Big Bazaar his pin and another customer telling his pin to the petrol bunk guy.  Both these people were simply lazy to type in their PIN.  Remember, PIN if compromised, you can’t even get any protection.  It’s considered as your negligence.  Read Credit Card Frauds – What to do ? to see the impact of your negligence.
  5. Do not handover your card to the restaurant waiter or a merchant to swipe from somewhere else.  Now a days, the PoS machine can be carried and they can bring it to you.
  6. Make sure that you get the card back from the merchant.
  7. Make sure that you get Your card back, not some other card.  Check the name or last 4 digits of your card to make sure that it is yours.
  8. Never keep easily guessable numbers as your PIN.
  9. Many banks provide a feature to manage your limits of your card online subject to your overall maximum limit.  Use this facility and keep it to the minimal limit.  Whenever you want a greater limit, go online and increase your limit.
  10. Never allow anyone else inside the ATM cabin.  They might be a threat to your security. They might be peeping over your shoulders to see your pin or even offering you help to transact at the ATM.  Keep them away.
  11. Many of the ATMs now ask for a receipt printing.  If not needed, do not take the receipt from ATM.  If at all you are asking for a receipt, just don’t throw it at the waste basket in ATM.  Take it home and shred the same.
  12. Once your transaction is over, wait till the light to blink and the screen to come to the start screen.  Press cancel a couple of times before leaving the machine.  This is to make sure that your transaction is not still in pending status and no one else can use your account there.
  13. If your card is stuck in the ATM machine, call the customer care immediately and block the card.  Do not leave the ATM till you get a confirmation of blocking your card from your bank.
  14. Write down the CVV of the card and store it somewhere else.  Scratch off the CVV from the card.  All card authentications need CVV during any transaction.
  15. Never write down your real PIN of the card and keep it along with the card.  Keep the PIN that can be remembered and make sure that you change it at certain intervals.  (Check the last para for a tip which I found interesting)
  16. Never share your personal information like Date of Birth, PAN, father’s name, spouse’s name, Aadhar card over the phone or in social media.  These could be used to retrieve your PIN or change your PIN.
  17. Never give out your personal information or CVV or expiry date of the card to anyone calling over the phone.  No bank employee would ask CVV or PIN of your card for any verification.
  18. Destroy your old card as soon as you receive the new one.  Make sure that you cut it across the chip and the magnetic strip.


An interesting tip to confuse petty thieves.

Once you receive the PIN for your card,


change the PIN to your comfortable number by going to the nearest ATM or doing it online.  Then cut the PIN communication carefully to take out the pre-printed PIN.  Strike any one digit off with a pen and write another new number.  Write a “+1” or “-1” after the PIN.  Write some other 4 digit number on the PIN again with a pen. Keep this old PIN in the wallet along with your card.

This way, in case your card is subject to a pick pocket or theft, then the petty thief who took it will be thinking that you are an idiot to write the number down along with the card.  He will try these numbers a few times in the nearest ATM or PoS Machine.  With the third try, your card is blocked.  This way, you might get your card blocked even before you notice that it is lost.