A few days back, I went to pick up my daughter from her school. The school has a good system wherein whoever comes to pickup the child, has to show the bearer card, so that the teacher knows that the child is being picked up by the authorised person.
All of a sudden I saw one househelp staff asking a teacher to hand over a child to him. When she asked for the bearer card, he said “its in the child’s bag”. The teacher was astonished. She immediately called up the parent to verify and if they knew about this practice being done with their child. She was further shocked by parents’ reply.
“Its more convenient to keep it in child’s bag.” They said, “Many a times we forget to carry the bearer card or to send the card with the staff.”
“What’s the purpose of asking for the bearer card then ?” the teacher asked “anyone can ask for the child and I will have to hand it over. How can you place convenience over security of the child?”
I came across a somewhat similar story with a colleague. She kept forgetting her ATM PIN. So she wrote it on the backside of the ATM Card. I accidently saw it, and asked “isn’t that dangerous? If someone steals your ATM card, he also has the PIN readily available with him.”
“May be” she said, “but it’s convenient. I keep forgetting it”
The above 2 incidences have one thing in common. Many people give up on security so that life becomes convenient.
This attitude gives enough room to fraudsters to play their foul tactics. People use their smartphones for doing fund transfers, online payments etc and stuff up their phones with truck-loads of “Apps” which they themselves aren’t sure of the utility and source. These Apps make you agree that they will access all the personal information on your mobile and then actually do it.
This makes you vulnerable to online frauds. A few cases have been reported wherein the credit card details or netbanking details were used for unauthorised withdrawals or payments. It’s good to be tech-savvy but we need to draw a line wherein we are not letting convenience score over security. A few tips listed below could be helpful :
- Rather than using your credit card everytime for paying utility bills, you can opt for an automatic bill payment facility using the same credit card. This would require your signature for first time authorisation and later on it becomes automatic. Thus, it saves you from putting your card details everytime you make online payments. These days even your browsers store a lot of information which is used by the browser developers.
- As we move towards a paperless world, don’t make yourself totally aloof from basic paperwork. While entering into a new agreement / investment product / policy, it is better to go the traditional paper way for the first time and get it automated later. If you automate it from the beginning, then you neither have the copy of the terms and conditions that you have agreed, nor you always have bright chances of asking for it later.
- Set an upper limit to all your credit cards / debit cards / netbanking for making fund transfer. This will provide you some cushion if you are exposed to a fraud. For example, you try paying / donating Rs. 100 to some unknown site and later it might use your details to transfer Rs. 5 Lakhs to themselves. If you have a limit of say Rs. 20,000-25,000 set for online transfers, then the loss could be minimized. For larger amounts, I would suggest to still use the traditional cheque method as far as possible. (This is only for online payments. If you are swiping your card in your presence, risk could be relatively lesser).
The above tips might sound making life difficult which has become very convenient off-late. But lets remember that if we sacrifice security for the sake of convenience, the damage could be much bigger. The inconvenience or the additional effort required could be worth to protect the big damage.
We look forward to your valuable comments and feedback. Please feel free to contact us on CEO@nidhiinvestments.com if you have any questions.
(The views mentioned in the article are personal opinion of the author)