May 15, 2015

24 Hours !!!

Bad memories are hard to forget and even harder to do so when you make its mark permanent by writing a blog about it. Since in the end this story had a happy ending I could muster the courage to write and tell the world about it . Well this is a story of how I went through one of the toughest days of my life in recent memories. Technically speaking I am not a sitting duck when you consider ways to con a person, but the recent turn of events baffled me and I was in for some rude shock.

So on a friday evening when we were heading towards Kerala via Mysore got a message that Rs 48,000 has been drawn from my bank account from some unknown person in London !!!!!. Now such sort of a thing takes it own sweet time to settle in and when it did I was in some sort of a mild shock :P. I was literally robbed by some unknown person but without being at gunpoint. Welcome to the 21st century where robbery doesnt happen in a physical manner but in the whole bad-shady virtual world.  So first thing first, called by bank call centre and blocked the cards and later on tranfered the remaining balance to my brothers account. From then started a month long battle to retrieve the amount back from the bank since according the banking laws the customer is not liable if there has been no negligence from his side like revealing his card and pin details to any third party.

After reaching Mysore called up the call centre person and discussed with her the course of action. The first step in such a case was to file an FIR and upon further probing got to know that there is a 50-50 possibility of getting my money back. If one checks in the internet one finds hundreds of such cases which have not been resolved by the banks. Hence had to take a resolve to follow up with my bank till this case is resolved and even mentally preparing myself to go to court if need arises. So the first obstacle was to go to the nearest police station and file an FIR. Now this was an effort in itself. The place where we stayed was in middle of 2 police station's jurisdiction. So they made us run from one station to another. Once the location was settled the ASI/constable were asking us to go and lodge a complaint in the place where the crime has happened. How in the world can I go to London and file a complaint !!!!!! The non-officers have no idea whatsover on how to deal with a cyber crime and moreover when they came to know that I was a software engineer I became their prime suspect :D, heights of laziness :D.

Anyway once the inspector made his presence in the station things got sorted out with him being very well informed and finally was able to book an FIR and submitted a copy to the bank. In the end it took me half a day to file this, thankfully it was a Saturday. After this another topping to our miseries was when the rental car we had hired from zoomcar brokedown without any warning. Hence the remainder of the day was spent in calling up their call centre guys waiting for the road assistance guys to show up and them trying desperately fixing the car and finally giving up and calling the tow truck. With this turn of events had to take a bus back to Bangalore.

Thereafter the next 1 week I spent following up with my bank and the zoomcar guys to get back the  refund. From zoomcar I got the refund in around 10 days and from the bank I got in around 30 days after repeatedly threatening them of court case and compensation for mental torture :P. Anyway alls well that ends well. And off late I am seeing a lot of similiar fraud transactions happening in London from accounts of various Indian banks. There must be some nexus wherein the data from the card is passed to the gang members in London, who create a clone card of some sort and withdraw the money.

The only solution to this so far is
1. Ensure to get a chip based card. Normal magnet strip card are nowadays easily cloned. Ask your bank for a replacement.
2. Ensure to cover when you punch in the pin number at an ATM or merchant counters.
3. Dont leave a lot of liquid cash in your account. Create an FD for short/long term if you are unaware of any other means of investment.
4. Keep your eyes open for any anamoly in the ATM card reader. There are various videos that are being circulated wherein an addon device is attached to the ATM card reader and which stealthily reads the cards information.

Better be safe than sorry ;) . 
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