Technology simplifies life, but it also has a flip side, if one were to go by the banking and credit/debit card scams that are milking account-holders of their hard-earned money

Despite all the technology backing banks, credit cards and debit cards, the customer is forced to play blind, claims an old-timer.

BC: Did you read the news?

AD: Yes, apparently teetotallers don't live as long as...

BC: Oh c’mon, I wasn't referring to that. Did you read the news where a bank fell prey to an e-mail scam?

AD: I did, it's pretty unfortunate that one of their accountholders lost money.

BC: I'm shocked — not just because he lost Rs. 63 lakh for no fault of his, but because a fake email could fool a banking institution into releasing money from his account. Apparently, even his fixed deposits were liquidated.

AD: Yes, but stray occurrences like these tend to happen.

BC: If banks didn't entertain email transactions, this wouldn't have happened.

AD: What are you trying to say?

BC: Technology is being introduced to make things more convenient, but it has a flip side that can be pretty damaging.

AD: You reached this conclusion on the basis of this one incident?

BC: Of course not! I keep getting these mails about some new rule or about the need for some identification that the bank requires — so which ones do I trust and which ones do I ignore? And it certainly doesn't make me feel any better knowing that banks are getting confused too.

AD: But banks have several security checks in place for your online transactions.

BC: Do you know the number of technology glitches that have been reported by the papers in the past fortnight? A bunch of school dropouts was nabbed in Lucknow for accessing details of accountholders of a particular bank and transferring funds from their accounts online.

AD: In this case, they called these customers and asked for their password over the phone, so you can't blame technology for that.

BC: There were seven arrests made in West Bengal and Bihar where the culprits had sent fake mails and messages, collected account details, opened bank accounts under different names and were running a full-fledged racket across the country, with several others involved. Now, all this would not be possible if not for technology.

AD: Look, despite consistent warnings that they shouldn't share their account information with strangers, many customers actually...

BC: And what about that email supposedly sent by the Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan? Did you read about that?

AD: I did, it was the one promising the recipient a couple of crores and asked for their bank details, wasn't it? But RBI did clarify that the mail was a hoax.

BC: That's right. But the point is, it's not just individuals who are getting gypped, even companies are being hoodwinked. A private firm lost Rs. 10 lakh from its account because its net banking password was hacked.

AD: Ok, it's happening everywhere, but...

BC: And I'm not even getting into credit card and debit card scams. Did you read about that poor guy who was cheated of Rs. 42,000 in a credit card scam in Delhi? Or about that guy in Bangalore who used fake cards and withdrew money from ATMs?

AD: Luckily, the guilty have been arrested. But you are aware of the new debit card rule issued by RBI, right? You will not just have to sign on the receipt for each transaction, but will also have to enter your PIN into the machine.

BC: I did get a mail to the effect.

AD: Cards are also moving from magnetic strip technology to chip technology.

BC: Well, they better do something about the technology because according to news reports, Indians have lost over Rs. 220 crore in 2011. All this scheming...

AD: You mean skimming... That’s how they collect vital information of accountholders from ATMs and from card machines.

BC: Well, originally skimming referred to the process of removing the cream from milk.

AD: Yes, but that’s healthy…

BC: That depends, but now I know why profitable ventures are called cash cows…

AD: I’m waiting…

BC: First they milk customers dry and then, someone else tricks them and takes away all the cream.

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