Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Petrol Pumps Prime Suspects in Card Cloning

Incidents of Debit and Credit Card cloning in India are on the rise. During the last three years, customers of several banks in the country have complained of fraudulent withdrawals of money from their accounts through ATMs using cloned ATM cards. Similarly, there are several complaints of cloning of Credit Cards that ultimately get used either online or at merchant establishments. Till recently, both banks and the Police have been clueless as to the source of cloning. Fortunately, during the last few months, some details have begun to emerge that point to the strong likelihood that Debit or Credit Cards get cloned during their use at Petrol Pumps. In September 2012, The Financial Express had reported that State Bank of India had submitted to the Cyber Crime Police in Chandigarh that in majority of the complaints of suspected card cloning, the customers had used their cards to pay for fuel at petrol pumps. SBI had specifically pointed to Sector 21 and Sector 39 Petrol Pumps. This is the link to the original news report: Read more below...

In April 2013, a Manager of Punjab National Bank who is a resident of Sector 21 in Chandigarh, complained that after he used his credit card to pay for fuel at Sector 21 Petrol Station, his card was cloned and used for shopping of Rs. 36000 and Rs. 20,400 in Ludhiana. This is the link to the news story:

Why it happens 

The problem here seems to be that most of the times, card swiping at petrol pumps does not happen in front of the customer. People keep sitting in their cars while they hand over their cards to employees of petrol pumps. When debit cards are used, many times the staff of petrol pumps bring the POS machines to the customers for entering their ATM PIN. The PIN is entered in front of the employee. Now the petrol pump guy has a copy of your debit card and he has seen your PIN. You don't have to wait for long before money starts disappearing from your account. And if you have not activated SMS alerts, the news of theft from your account will arrive at its own slow pace.

What to do

Do not use Debit / Credit Cards at Petrol Pumps. If you must, get out of your car and watch the whole process. Make the staff look away when you enter the PIN. If you have not activated SMS alerts for your card transactions, do it now. 

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All information given in this blog is obtained from sources in the public domain, RTI applications, discussions with bankers, bank customers in India and also with some employees of Reserve Bank of India having knowledge of the working of various Offices of Banking Ombudsman in India. All information in this blog is presented on a best effort basis and is not claimed to be complete information on any of the subjects covered in this blog. Use of any information given in this blog is purely voluntary on the part of the readers. Author of this blog does not assume any responsibility for any action of the readers related to any matter discussed in this blog or any consequences thereof. Readers of this blog are advised to consult a legal practitioner before taking any action related to any matter discussed in this blog.