4 Ways your Debit Card Information can be Stolen and Safety Tips

The objective of sharing the ways your Debit Card information can be stolen is just to make you more aware. Over all, you must not worry too much as your debit cards are as secure as ever.

Last week one particular news rattled the debit card holders in India. According to various news reports online and Offline, around 32 Lakh Debit Cards have been compromised in the month of May-June this year. In India alone 6 Lakh debit cards were said to have been compromised or hacked (sensitive and personal bank details were stolen). The Debit card users most affected by the said attack belonged to SBI, HDFC bank, ICICI, YES bank and Axis Bank. The reports were enough to make some among us afraid of using our ATM cards on ATM Kiosks installed across India. The more vgilant Indians are also thinking twice before using their credit and debit cards online. To what an extent this fear is reasonable? We will delve into it and share with you 4 ways through which your debit Card Information can be Stolen.

There are multiple ways in which your Debit Card information can be stolen. But they can broadly grouped under 4 caps. Below are 4 ways your Debit Card Information can be Stolen, along with the Safety tips:

1. Phishing : You receive fraudulent emails purporting to be from reputable companies or your bank. In reality the emails are from fraudsters. The idea is to induce the receivers of such emails reveal their personal information, such as passwords, Card PIN and credit card details, bank details to the fraudsters.

Safety Tip: Always remember that NO BANK asks for such information via email or phone call.

Safety Tip: Know the online address of you Bank. For instance, IDBI bank’s online address is http://www.idbi.com/index.asp . Trash any email whose sender is xyz@gmail.com or xyz@idbi.in. In simple, the official email from IDBI will always be from an email account which ends in idbi.com. A good way to reach at your bank’s site, for online banking is to write the name of your bank in the address bar. The moment you will hit the enter key, you will automatically be shown search results, and your bank’s site will be the top search result.

Safety Tip: Remember that every online address of your bank will have the same TLD, that if it’s IDBI, then irrespective of URL or link, it will have idbi.com.

Safety Tip: The moment the bank website enters into sensitive information area it starts using https:// and NOT http:// . All Payment gateways use https//: .

2. Skimming Devices : Skimming attacks also aim your debit card information. They are usually effected by very tiny skimming devices, which can be easily attached to an ATM Machine. The ATM data skimming devices are sometimes so tiny that they are not detectable by surveillance or CCTV Cameras.

3. Compromising the Security of a Payment Processor

       A. Malware/Virus Attack

  • ATM Malware

Safety Tip: Use your debit card at ATMs which are very active and are not on desolate places. Do NOT make a transaction at an ATM Kiosk where there is no Security Guard.

  • POS MalwareTrojan/Keylogger etc. — Point of Sale malware, as the name suggests is malicious code which can be installed on any device where retail transaction is carried out. The POS systems can be as public as a debit/credit card reader in a shop or restaurant, to as personal as your mobile phone or your PC. A malicious POS device such as a Credit card reader or debit card reader can be installed with a malware, which may be reading your card twice, that’s not only the magnetic stripe but also the Card number. A Mobile device your PC can also be POS.

Key Loggers are malware which can installed on any device without you knowing it. The Key Loggers, as the name suggests, steal your information by recording your Key strokes on keypad or Keyboard.

Safety Tip: According to RBI Guidelines, the Banks are issuing new Debit cards with EMV Chips (small stamp sized circuit on the face of your Card).

Safety Tip: Use a Licensed Anti-Virus with Internet security suite, for PC or mobile device. This is important as with the increase in Online Shopping, you will be using your PC or mobile devices to make purchases.

B. Hacking Attacks

Safety Tip: As far as you’re concerned shop from reputed e-commerce sites. If you don’t know the reputation of site don’t make a purchase there.

Safety Tip: Contrary to common knowledge, Bank Information hacking or debit card hacking does not have just the technology or machine dimension to it. It has a necessary human element to a great degree.

For instance, a real human being can call you and can tell you as to how your such and such amount bonus us stalled, simply because you’re not furnishing them any information. NEVER DISCLOSE (tell) your sensitive bank details to any one, no matter how realistic the caller may appear to you. NOTE THAT YOUR BANK WILL NEVER ASK FOR YOUR DEBIT CARD NUMBER, DEBIT CARD PIN OR YOUR ASK YOU TO FURNISH YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS BY CALLING YOU (on phone). Bank don’t trust humans even who are in their employment to reveal to you such information. IF THERE’S SOMETHING URGENT YOU WILL BE ASKED TO VISIT YOUR NEAREST BRANCH. It’s good to understand that even the Card PIN which your receive by mail, is not sent you by any human being employed at Bank. The PIN is securely generated by some machine.

4. Remain Vigilant and Aware : The recent compromise of Debit Cards MUST NOT make you all frenzied up. Although there are certain DOs which you must always remember and practice while using your debit card, such as not making a transaction in an ATM Kiosk where there is no Security Guard OR no Surveillance Camera. OR making online transactions only at reputed e-commerce websites.

Thing you must know: Many a times websites such as this one, shares with you some product such as book or a game, which you can buy online. We are NOT POINT OF SALE. We are simply sending you to the website where you can make the purchase. We always send our readers to secure sites with reputation such as Amazon, Flipkart or Snapdeal etc.(Secure sites are those with https://). if you don’t want to use your Debit or Credit card even at these sites, then you can always opt for Cash on Delivery Option. That’s you can pay when you take the delivery of the Product ordered.


That said, when it comes to secure-ness of Debit Cards then the recent compromise of debit cards doesn’t tell the correct picture. Debit Cards are still very secured and you must not worry about hacked ATM machines.

The same applies to online transactions made through cards. Even when a user doesn’t take the above simple precautions, the Payment gateways used by all banks are so secure that it’s nearly impossible to hack them.

Banks these days use double or triple or multiple authentication (such as user id, Transaction password or OTP sent to your verified email address or Mobile phone number) to ensure that the actual owner of the bank account or debit card is making the purchase. Hence, don’t worry. Your bank will not pay anyone any money or debit your account, unless it’s more than 100 percent sure that you are the one who’s making the purchase.

It’s always good to have a good Licensed anti-virus along with internet security, such as eScan, installed on your PC. Particularly when you use your credit or debit card to shop online. But that doesn’t mean your debit card is at risk, if you buy something online from a PC which is not properly secured. The Banking websites and the payments gateways are so sophisticated these days that the moment the bank or Payment gateway suspect something, it will abort the transaction at that point.

Safety Tip: It’s a good idea NOT to use Public WiFis and Public PCs to make online purchases.

To conclude, we shared much about things you must do to remain safe while using your Debit Cards or cards. OR while using an ATM. But the cashless banking transactions gateways are so robust that they are very safe. Hence we must not worry too much.