A security breach purportedly at Hitachi point-of-sales gateways has compromised as many as 3.2 million debit cards in India this week.
Feared to be the worst ever case of security breach of financial information in the country, banks have asked their customers to change their ATM pin and other credentials.
The worst affected banks in the recent crisis are SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and Axis Bank.
The Payments Council of India taking cognizance of this breach has ordered a financial audit to find the origin of the fraud. The Economic Times quoted its director saying, â€śWe have received complaints from banks about debit cards being used in China which aroused suspicion."
Among 3.2 million affected cards, 6,00,000 were on the RuPay platform while the rest were on Visa and MasterCard platforms, the ET report added.
Both SBI and HDFC acknowledged the breach but maintained that their respective payment systems, ATMs remained safe for operation.
While SBI will reissue 6,00,000 debit cards, HDFC advised its customers to only use HDFC Bank ATMs.
As a user can't stop large scale financial breaches, here are some steps you should take to protect your hard-earned money:
1) Set up app based/SMS/ email alerts for every form of financial transaction.
2) Monitor your bank statements regularly.
3) Keep your bank customer care number handy. Or know how to block your ATM card or all online transactions.
4) Report to the bank immediately in case you have lost your cards or you know your credentials for online transactions have been compromised.
5) Donâ€™t link accounts for automatic transfer of funds.
6) Donâ€™t have passwords which are easy to guess. Use a firewall, anti-virus software and update them as prescribed. Change your ATM pin and online passwords from time-to-time.
7) Update your current contact information all the time with your bank.
8) Be aware of the presence of suspicious persons, objects in and around ATMs.
9) In case your card gets stuck in the ATM, call your bank immediately.
10) Try to have the other hand guarding the keypad as you type your ATM pin.
11) Sign up for paperless banking so there is lesser chance that other people have access to your financial statements.
12) Prefer ATMs attached to banks, they tend to have better security checks than others.
13) Globally, credit cards are more secure and its advisable to use them for point-of-sales gateways.
14) Always destroy your old ATM/ debit cards.
15) Donâ€™t have all your money in a single account.