Credit Card Fraudulent Transactions increasing in India?

By | June 13, 2020
credit card fraudulent transaction
Credit card fraudulent transaction (pic: xenonstack)

Despite improvements in technology and Artificial intelligence, Credit Card frauds remains pretty common across the world and so India is no different.

This happens especially with international transactions as those type of transactions don’t require 2-factor authentication.

Yes, you can Chargeback the transaction but now the problem is, it seems they’re not being honoured as its supposed to be.

Recently I’m seeing large number of frauds happening to those in my circle so thought I would do an article on it to see what others are going through.

Here are some of the recent cases I’ve seen in 2020 and how it progressed:

Axis Bank Credit Card

One fine day a close friend of mine using an Axis Credit Card was charged some 50K INR (equivalent in foreign currency) in multiple transactions.

The problem with Axis Bank is that they need a FIR copy to initiate the dispute.

That makes the situation complicated and even makes it feel 50K is better to loose than to deal with people involved in getting an FIR.

But fortunately he had contacts that could help and so he disputed and got the refund.

Moral of the story: Go ahead and disable International transaction on your Axis Bank credit card and never think about enabling it for the rest of your life.

ICICI Bank Credit Card

Few months back my friend’s colleague called up and said he was charged some 40K INR at Walmart, USA. While I was like “Chill buddy, just call and dispute it and you will get your money back”

But it was a different situation altogether as he said he already did that and even escalated to banking Ombudsum yet they still aren’t reversing the transaction.

They initially gave interim credit but then revoked it as the case favoured the merchant, which I don’t know how.

However, finally with a help of a lawyer, FIR and multiple emails to both bank and RBI, he finally got the refund.

But again he did not get waiver on the interest accrued on the transaction, as he did not make payment to the card post the chargeback.

Moral of the Story: Leave no stones unturned when dealing with the dispute. Looks like raising the case multiple times via multiple sources with multiple additional supporting documents might help, eventually.

Standard Chartered Credit Card

I have heard quite a number of stories about fraudulent transactions on Standard Chartered credit cards but it seems it got intensified recently in 2020.

Someone named Vaibhav sent me an email a month ago to post about his case along with many of his friends who fell victims for fraudulent international transactions at websites like dmarket.com to the tune of few lakhs.

You may find their case with detailed info in this doc sent by him.

It looks like Stan. C gives robotic response and isn’t friendly in handling the case.

The problem with Stan. C used to be that you cannot disable international transactions until early 2020.

However now the bank has added an option to disable International transactions via internet banking or by calling customer care. This is a new feature and you shouldn’t ignore it.

Moral of the story: Looks like it’s better to disable the international transaction on Stan. C cards and stay away from them as long as you could. Anyway their Markup fee is high, so never mind.

Final Thoughts

After looking into the above cases its obvious that Chargeback benefit is not going to always save you from unwanted issues, unless you deal with the right credit card issuer, like Amex.

So disabling international transaction is one of the most important things you should do once you get your new credit card.

If you intend to use regularly for foreign transactions then consider enabling it but don’t forget to reduce the limit of such transactions. This might save you from big loss even if the case turns in favour of merchant.

Have you or your friends faced fraudulent transactions recently on credit cards? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. With more inputs maybe we will know better on which bank is tough to deal with and those that are friendly about it.

43 thoughts on “Credit Card Fraudulent Transactions increasing in India?

  1. Akhil R

    Close to 11k was lost from my hdfc regalia first credit card on 24th March. I had raised a dispute using their dispute form and the amount was refunded on 14th April. The replacement card was only sent in May sure to the lockdown and the only amount that i had to spend was 100 for card reissue and 57 as gst for markup fees. But, now after reading you article, I’m not sure if the dispute was resolved or of it’s interim credit.

    Reply
  2. Pradheep Padmanathan

    Whenever and wherever possible use PayPal for international transactions and subscriptions. You get two layers of protection. One from PayPal and other from your credit card. And in my experience PayPal chargebacks and dispute mechanism are way superior than my credit cards with amex being an exception.

    Reply
  3. Anup Singh

    I got same call, and most shocking thing was that she know my card number along with CVV and expiry dates.
    In the name of voucher she asked me for otp which I received and that app was to access RBL credit card app. But unfortunately that day was not good day for her. I share almost 10opt all elwrong and later she disconnected.
    RBL bank credit card app has very simple touch to disable international transactions and we can set limit also on monthly basis.

    Reply
  4. Himanshu

    A similar thing happened with me with Kotak Mahindra Credit Card. I fine morning at around 4:00 AM, I got a text message that a transaction $50 was denied at totalwine because the international transaction on my card is disabled.
    I was saved just because I had disabled the international transaction. Interestingly, it was a new card and I had used the card at a local shop and Uber, Ola, and Amazon India. Apart from these, the card was not used anywhere at all.
    From then onwards, I have disabled international transactions on my all cards except Amex. Moreover, I have set a sub-limit for the international transaction on one card and use the same card for all international transactions via Paypal if available.
    On a side note, has anyone tried the CPP or OneAssist protection plan? Do they really fulfill the case in case of any fraudulent transaction?

    Reply
    1. Akhil R

      I also had CPP protection. Called them on 24th, the day the money was lost. They insisted on getting an FIR for the resolution and promised a callback the next day. They have not called me till now. I called them multiple times starting from 25th. But, the lockdown started on 25th and I have not been able to reach them since. When I received the refund from HDFC, I did not follow up on obtaining the FIR. My advice is to give them a hard pass as they insist on FIR even when the bank gives a refund without one. I have cancelled their subscription after this incident.

      Reply
    2. MT

      KMB royale card data was fully compromised a while back , i had reached branch manager level for 10x transaction of 9.99 AUD on amazon au within 3mins at 2.49am on a day , disputed and with very high pressure via BM , they refunded the money … offered me CPP , but it covered only transactions above 5000rs … I disabled both my wife’s and my cards via netbanking (thank god kotak had them before anyone else) , 15 days later , they were 15 attempts on amazon au for 9.99aud transactions, fortunately all got denied , then went to shut down the cards , thats when BM mistakenly spoke that the whole bin of royale cards was compromised

      For those opting for Any kind of CPP , check the minimum amount covered, hackers now a days are smart , they do multiple small tx which usually pass through the system n rarely get disputed

      Reply
      1. Himanshu

        Hey MT and Akhil,

        Thanks for the info about the CPP . I was thinking CPP/OneAssist would be a worthy addition along with disabling the international transactions but I guess these companies are just here for making money rather than supporting the customers in case of any fraudulent transaction.

        Reply
  5. The Global Investor

    Yes, my HDFC card was compromised AGAIN today – 13/6/2020 used on some US based websites. Similar issue had happened to me about 6 months ago as well. Both times there were multiple OTP requests from various websites in rapid succession and some of the charges even went through without OTP. I was quick to call the bank and they blocked the card. But still had to fill out a dispute form and submit to the bank. Got a new card several days later.

    HDFC CC dispute email support is mostly robotic responses. You need to go through the motions and hope for the best.

    Today when I called to report the fraud, the HDFC guy on the phone blocked my card and then was desperately trying to sell me some fraud protection scheme for ₹1899/year. The AUDACITY is mind boggling. In the process of filling out the dispute form as we speak.

    Reply
    1. Krishna Chandran

      The same happened to me earlier this year. My HDFC card was used on Apple Ireland site. Multiple swipes for 99 and 799..I dont even have an apple account :). Overall 8K in disputed transactions. It happened around 3am and I was sleeping. So the transaction alert call came immediately and I missed it. So they went ahead and blocked the card. Thankfully, I called them back and the guy told to just download the form and sent them the details of the transactions. I did this and they credited back the amount within the same statement cycle. Overall, it was a smooth experience.

      Reply
  6. Nisanth P

    I’m holding regalia, and I too had a fraudulent transaction, they tried the transaction but didnt go through it seems, I didnt get any message abt the transaction instead got a call from Customer care for enquiring and when confirmed it was not me, they blocked the card. They are not sending new replacement cards via courier now, have to visit the nearest branch and collect the card from then within 7~10 days.

    Reply
  7. Gkcards

    I think HDFC are quick to callback to confirm if you make an international transaction which gets declined, or you do one when u normally don’t do any, or a high value local transaction

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Usually most banks call quick in such cases, except Amex, but that’s totally different 🙂

      Reply
      1. HG

        Amex has a “Zero Lost card liability” so if you report any fraudulent txn within 3 days, your liability will be nil. Needless to say I feel extremely safe with Amex than any of the other cards. I have also seen cases where my friends cards were somehow cloned and cash was withdrawn from ATMs (domestic) and the banks would still ask for the money. I’d also take a step ahead and suggest to turn of ATM withdrawals along with International transactions on all your cards

        Reply
        1. Chaitanya Choudhary

          Totally agree with you, Amex is super helpful when it comes to fraudulent transactions. This one time I noticed a valid transaction was charged twice on my card, they went ahead and made sure I didn’t have to pay for it. This is when i reported it almost 2 weeks after it was charged.

          The best is to swap the cards every 1.5 to 2 years, because keeping track of data being stolen is difficult.

          Reply
    2. Nisanth P

      Yes I agree, HDFC is prompt in calling on any high value transactions. I’ve received calls for Int’l swiping transactions as well,.

      @Sid. I don’t think most bank call so, I never received any calls from ICICI, for any local or international transactions. My ICICI Card was hacked and used in iTunes stores 4/5 times, there was no calls, luckly it was at evening time. I could call and block the card immedietly

      Reply
  8. Chirag Katara

    I lost about 7.5k from my Amazon Pay wallet (didn’t have 2FA but my password was definitely unique and I work in Cyber Sec). The balance was used to purchase Google Play gift cards, I have the email address it was delivered to along with the location/device info from the emails I received, and immediately complained to Amazon and they refunded my money immediately.

    From the looks of it, I wanted the fraudster to be punished and complained to Cyber Cell asking them to help get the IP address logs from Amazon, but they simply left no traces of my complain on their portal after one month of it being logged.

    Reply
  9. Shivi

    The Standard Chartered card cases are quite unnerving. Is there any way to disable the international transactions on DEBIT card of SC and CitiBank?

    Reply
  10. Chintan

    A worker from my company was charged around 95000 on multiple international transactions one night from his Debit Card. I helped him in raising complains, filing fir and do the things. He did receive refund of around 40000 and the rest is pending. This literally happened a day before pandemic lockdown, as the banks weren’t operating for days I believe it will be difficult now.

    Reply
  11. Gautam

    With Standard Chartered cards you can perform transactions even with the wrong expiry date and wrong CVV ( only card number and OTP need to be right for domestic transactions). Earlier all online transactions with wrong details would go through but now they seem to have plugged the loophole only on the PAYTM add money platform. Please go ahead and try it – try recharging your TATA sky or paying your broadband bill.

    The only way to survive is to block foreign transactions or keep it to the bare minimum using the mobile app as foreign transactions don’t even need to the OTP to complete a transaction.

    Reply
  12. Dnyanesh

    I’ve received call back from HDFCB even for high value Indian transactions.

    One question for international transactions – if we decline and say that the transaction was not done by us, what happens next?
    1) The fraudulent transaction is not processed
    2) The credit card is blocked

    Am I right?

    Since, banks are delaying new credit card disbursement, there is a strong case for disabling international transactions. Just did so on my HDFC card.

    Thanks Sid for covering this topic.

    Reply
  13. HG

    I have always been fascinated to find out how credit card frauds occur. Everytime there was a fraud on my card, the explanation was probably simple but hard to digest, you used your card at a merchant which got hacked! Most of the times you store your card on your favourite merchant ― well because you don’t want to enter the details every time, and admit it, its a huge convenience, merchants also love storing your cards since it gives them a conversion uplift ― there are innumerous times your merchant will insecurely store your card details (also goes inline with websites storing your login credentials in plaintext and getting hacked later) and this is what hacks will reveal, your card details from an insecure server. The legitimate way to do this is, the merchant provides card data to their payment processor, who returns a token. The token is then used for subsequent transactions but doesn’t contain the credit card number or other data, so be aware of where you use your card, if you don’t feel confident sharing your card details on a domestic merchant too, opt for alternate payment methods like wallets etc.

    Reply
  14. Tushar Richabadas

    I had a fraudulent transaction with my AmEx. Woke up one morning in Vellore and saw a transaction for a small amount in the US – someone checking the card out. I called AmEx immediately, and they transferred me to a fraud specialist. Card was cancelled, a new card was issued, transaction was scrubbed – all withing 10-15 minutes. The new card was at my place within a day or so. No extra charges.

    This is one of the reasons I prefer to use my AmEx over any bank card – their support is seriously good. Esp while travelling abroad, where the Regalia is cheaper to use, I prefer to use AmEx unless they don’t accept the card.

    Reply
  15. Palash Deb

    I had an unauthorized international transaction on my Debit card.. This had occurred exactly few days after enabling an Autopay bill payment on BILLPAY through hdfc netbanking. Luckily, my debit card was disabled for international transactions. I had to block my debit card and also delete autopay instructions on debit card for bill payment on Billpay. Is it a data breach on part of billpay. How secure is billpay service in HDFC netbanking.

    On this query raised, I got the following reply – “We wish to inform you that Alert has been triggered for card number ending with XXX7 which is in hotlisted status. Please note, if an online transaction is attempted using a deactivated card (hotlisted card) the OTP / transactional alert will be triggered to the registered mobile. However, the transaction will be declined due to the invalid status of the debit card. We assure you that no transactions will be processed using your above said debit card as the same is in deactivate status. The attempts might have done either by another customer using the your card number ( typo error) or the fraudster’s attempt using your card number.

    Now, please tell me, how on earth could be an OTP trigggered for a hotlisted card. Also, how can another customer use my card & that too with OTP not being triggered on that customers mobile number. And how can a fraudster attempt using an already hotlisted card. Is hotlisting a joke or someting ?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      It happens, Axis used to send me transaction decline alerts for ~3 yrs even after closing the credit card A/c completely.

      Basically it’s due to poor programming, but as they said the txn wont go through as its deactivated. So nothing much to worry.

      Reply
  16. GTMAX

    Any way one can disable international transactions for HSBC & Kotak credit card? For now, I have chosen the option to “Switch off” the Kotak credit card & have not been able to find any option with HSBC.

    Reply
  17. Rohit

    Really scary to read this article 🙂 and stopped in between. I am curious to know people who had illegal transaction did you use your cards in any of the chinese sites like alibaba,? There are 3 main reasons for card fraud.
    1. Source of the website (which steals your data )
    2. Due to our carelessness.
    3. If bank sells your data while dispatching the card. Heard a lot about that with SBI bank and i am not sure why sidd didnt mention SBI here.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I don’t have any experience with SBI and I don’t hear any either on unauthorised transaction. But yeah I’ve got many calls to redeem my SBI reward points from Visa/Msatercard “professionals” 😀

      Reply
      1. Rohit

        LOL 🙂 I infact read about SBI in one of your topic last year or something. I guess title was on SBI prime card and many got their card used in Brazil which is never a coincidence and some inside job. Only because of that topic I didnt even go near SBI branch even though SBi wanted to give me some signature card or some top card they claimed. After I read those discussion i was like …..

        Reply
    2. Gautam

      Even I had this doubt regarding SBI Cards. Recently I downgraded my card to SBI Ola Money and within a couple of days of activating the new card, I received a call from a scamster pretending to an SBI Branch Manager. When I made an online complaint, SBI cards, in addition to giving robotic responses, increased the limit on that basic card to Rs. 10 lacs!

      Last week, I got a call from an Axis Bank “Manager” regarding reward points, who knew I was holding Vistara infinite!

      Best,

      PS – Would hasten to add that when I faced a fraudulent activity on my AIR India Signature card in 2015, SBI Cards handled the process very well. The charge was permanently reversed within 90 days.

      Reply
      1. Rohit

        @Gautham
        Do you have to pay the bill and then claim for refunds or you dont pay if some fraud happens on the card.
        Even if bank calls they would never ask you for card details and if they ask stating we are verifying then its a pure fraud. And on other hand if we call customer care and they want to process and ask for autentication then its presumed safe. Still we will never know the intention of staff 🙂

        Reply
  18. Shreyansh

    I recently had two different experiences with auto renewal facility
    1) My payment for auto renewal of moneycontrol pro was deducted even though i had switched off the card for all domestic and international transactions on my Icici bank credit card
    2) This morning my payment for auto renewal of youtube premium got declined by SBI credit card as international payments on it are deactivated by me
    Can anyone please tell how can we keep track of auto renewal and how did my transaction at moneycontrol gone through even though all the transactions were deactivated by me?

    Reply
  19. neil

    Sid,

    while the fraud on credit cards is scary, the 600 pound gorilla fraud in the room is UPI. your link you most used bank account with a UPI (google/paytm/amazon etc) and give unrestricted access to your bank account. in one fell swoop, all your money will be swiped out and you will not be able to do ANYTHING AT ALL. the police will not lodge an FIR and the cyber cell will just sit on the complaint. There are numerous stories about lakhs of rupees being swindled in this way.

    I have resisted the mouthwatering promotions being offered for transacting on UPI platforms as it lets me sleep peacefully. I would suggest to de-link all UPI payments and rather make payments by cash if necessary.

    Stay Safe!!

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Fortunately I don’t use UPI apps like gpay and recently tested Amazon Pay UPI with cred and disabled the same day.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    2. The Conscience

      Better , get an bank account like kotak , DBS or any zero balance account on alternate number . And connect all upi apps to it. And keep balance low as per ur requirement. Even if it get hacked . Ull not lose much .

      Reply
      1. Rohit

        @The Conscience
        Fraudsters would take all your personal details including PAN from banks even if they have 0 balance account which is not worth. UPI is extremely tricky and better to avoid it since some one mentioned you cant file case if some fraud happens.

        Reply
    3. Rohit

      @neil
      Finally i have heard someone talking about it 🙂 . And I forgot to mention this on my previous comment. People get carried away with small cashbacks of 50, 100. Forget about UPI i didnt even bother giving KYC and sell our personal data to these third party companies like paytm, airtel etc. I just did a partial KYC for amazon only because of vouchers I get from HDFC or even that I wouldnt have done. Unfortunately we are living in a country where there is no Law for data privacy. I filed a case on Finserv because someone used my name and number to avail a loan and cyber crime told they will not go further because there was no financial loss 🙂 and after this I literally became extreme careful. Some steps which I follow :
      1. Give fake name, address, DOB in places like bigbaazar, shopping who talk abt membership. Max details in india gets leaked from these places.
      2. Have a private number for banks and no one should know about it 🙂
      3. Use the credit card with least limit in places you are not sure ( I had to book a bus from a company which i never heard but did some background research on company and booking was at remote foreign location)
      4.AAdhar card is another danger zone. I literraly did not take adhar and was forced in the end when i got notice that my bank acc would be freezed if i dont apply aadhar. And I was lucky enough that RBI correctly brought into notice that Aadhar was not compulsary and due to security reasons Banking association chairman asked to go n give letter to bank to cancel or delete your aadhar details.
      5. Passport is your last line of defence. Dont even dream of giving passport as proof within india. You really dont want to get into trouble with forged passport. We would never know what would happen when we land some where. I have a grt experince on this not on Passport but my DL. I got a genuine DL applied from RTo which turned out to be fake and I was glad that it came out before I got caught in some international Soil 🙂 And funny part was I was using that DL for around 18 yrs.

      TO be honest there is no end to this topic 🙂 might be someone else can share more preventive measures which I missed.

      Reply
  20. Nipun

    Hi Sid,

    I have one of my friends experience around 2 yrs back, his ICICI card was used on Indian Merchants and validated through OTP.

    He only got debit SMS but not OTP messages, but he could not win the chargeback and as bank said that this transactions were OTP based so no chargeback was also raised.

    Its really becoming tough to maintain cards and those with higher linits at large.

    Reply
  21. Jambui

    Using android phone with unsecured apps is another reason.
    Better use iphone only for banking.

    Reply
  22. Chaitanya Choudhary

    Recently I saw EUR 1500 worth charges on my Citi Prestige card, this was on an older card which was replaced with a new one but was still active (60 days period). I called the helpline immediately and raised a dispute. They reverted the charge within a few minutes.

    Before this I had an issue with multiple charge on my Amex Plat card, those guys are by far the best in terms of dispute resolution.

    Reply
  23. Karan Chawla

    Are there cards with zero fraud liability (Except AMEX). Looking to trim down expenses in post covid world and was looking at options. Yes bank has some sort of cover. First 3 days its zero liability, 3-7 days capped out on a per transaction basis your credit limit.

    My question is, what other banks provide such policies. @Sid – Can you do an article on these policies if possible. TIA

    Reply

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