THE rise in the use of contactless payment systems during the pandemic may see more scammers preying on unsuspecting public.
Credit cards – currently the most widely used form of contactless payment system globally – could see heightened interest by scammers who usually try to blend their deceptive schemes into people’s routines or habits.
According to RHB Bank’s head of group retail banking Rakesh Kaul (pic), credit card scams can come in many forms, including phone scams, email scams or phishing, identity theft and account takeover, and lost or stolen transactions.
He shared with StarBiz some steps to prevent falling victim to such scams:
Be vigilant and do not reply to emails or calls requesting your credit card details
Rakesh said no one should reveal such sensitive information, including the three-digit CVV or one-time passcode (OTP), to any third party. “Banks would never ask for your card numbers, CVV or OTP via emails or calls, ” he said.He noted that people should also not respond to any link provided by any financial institution in any email or SMS circulars that are sent to them.
“If one has any doubts on emails received or calls from an unknown caller, always call the financial institution on the number provided behind your card or obtain it from the bank’s official website, ” he said.
“Never call the number given by the unknown caller, ” he stressed.
Safeguard your PIN number at all times
Malaysia has taken keen initiatives ahead of several other more advanced countries such as the United States to improve credit card security to prevent fraud.One key initiative is in verifying a person’s transaction with his or her PIN number that was implemented several years back.
However, this could also be open to abuse and Rakesh said that people should never share their PIN numbers with anyone else, even if the person offered to make the payment on their behalf to lessen their burden.
“One should also never use common PIN numbers for their credit cards such as their birth date or 123456.
“They should also not carry a note with their PIN numbers written on it as a giveaway, ” he said.
Keep your credit card close to you
Rakesh said the bank must immediately be informed should a person’s credit card get lost or stolen.It is, thus, wise to have the bank’s credit card centre’s phone number stored on mobile phones or written down somewhere that is easy to access.
“One should also never expose their card longer than necessary, such as when paying bills at a restaurant.
And you should also present your card at the payment terminal yourself, rather than giving it to someone else to process it, ” he said.
He highlighted that people should never let their cards out of sight at any time when making payments.
“For a secure way of paying that takes up less time at the checkout counter, opt for contactless payments: tap your card on the merchant’s payment terminal and go, ” he said.
Rakesh said some banks have implemented technologies that allow for the CVV to be refreshed on a regular basis to minimise potential risks of CVV security codes being stolen.
Check bank statements and report any unauthorised transactions
He said that one should be diligent about always going through their monthly credit card statements and scrutinising every transaction.“If you see any unauthorised charges, report to your bank immediately no matter how small the amount.
“If your card has been compromised, or if you feel your card has been cloned or sensitive information leaked such as the CVV, you are advised to contact the bank to cancel the card, ” Rakesh added.
After that, the bank will send out a replacement card to the customer.
“People should also sign up for Internet banking and e-statements to make it easy and convenient to access and view their transactions instead of waiting for a physical statement to arrive, ” he said.
Protect yourself against identity theft
He acknowledged that there were certain people that would still opt for the physical statement instead of the digital copy, and that they should ensure that their information is not leaked out with the physical copy.“It is important to dispose of or shred your credit card or bank statements containing potentially sensitive information such as card numbers, card credit limits, etc.
“The bank always encourages their customers to opt for e-statements which are more secure, ” he said.
For those who still opt for the physical statement, he suggested that they get a small office shredder for home use.
“You can then shred any documents with your credit card information on them before disposing of them, ” he said.
Rakesh said that people should also avoid using any public or unsecured computers to perform online shopping or banking activities.
These can usually be found in unsuspecting places such as libraries, airports or at the cyber-cafe and can contain malwares or sophisticated hidden softwares to track a person’s user name and password.
One should also be aware of where their information is being shared with such as on social networks like Instagram or Facebook.
“We should all be smart with information and updates on our social networks, as it can be used to steal our identity, ” he said.
The rise of technology has necessitated an increase in the awareness of such scams.
While some of these steps are common sense to most of us, a slight moment of distraction or act of charm can cause confusion and put anyone in a weak spot for scammers to pounce on them and cheat them.