As the festive season kicks in; along with bright lights and piles of sweets, another thing floods in — sales and discounts. Wherever you look; there are numerous discounts and deals to lure shoppers to splurge on the things they love. The concept of seasonal sales has persisted since time immemorial. However, with technology, the trend has become bigger and has shifted to the online space. E-commerce platforms have increasingly become the go-to destination for anything and everything one needs during the festival season. With the growing enthusiasm for online sales, banks step in with additional cashback offers. But as luring as it sounds, the online transactions have their own pitfalls.
When users want to make quick transactions and easy discounts, credit and debit cards are the best bets. However, not to be paranoid about it, but there are things that can go wrong. An Amazon user, Surekha Pillai, recently narrated an incident where her account was hacked and she narrowly escaped a huge financial loss. In a post on social media platform Medium, she shared a harrowing tale of how her Amazon account was hacked and the tough time she faced to cancel the orders made through her credit card.
Surekha Pillai writes about how one fine day her Amazon account was being phished to make purchases on Amazon Italy and Amazon Germany websites, using her credit card information. While at first she suspected it to be a spam, but when she checked that her details like address were used in these transactions, she knew she was in trouble.
“It was an email with the subject line ‘Il tuo ordine Amazon.it che include ‘Casio A-158WA Orologio Vintage’. Assuming it to be spam, I ignored it when couple of minutes later, I received another email with the subject ‘Il tuo ordine e stato cancellato’. I opened the emails to see both were from Amazon Italy where the first mail was a confirmation for an order placed and the second, a cancellation of the same order” Surekha wrote. She further added, “Suspecting fraudulent activity (I briefly wondered if it could be a gift order placed by a friend) I decided to report it to Amazon when I received another email, this time purportedly from Amazon Germany ‘Ihre Amazon.de Bestellung von “Panda 3D Printed Mens…”‘. It was a confirmation of an order placed. Till that point I suspected these were phishing emails since the German email id bestellbestaetigung(at)amazon(
dot)de read suspiciously non-official. But the other details such as my address were accurate which raised my suspicion.”
As an instant reflex, Surekha deleted her credit card payment method from her Amazon account and immediately reported these emails to the Amazon India customer care executive on chat who assured her it was a technical glitch which happens sometimes and that it will be rectified immediately. While she was still reporting this, she received a few booking confirmation emails from Amazon account, and soon followed notifications from her bank account. To add to her horror, soon her Amazon account became inaccessible to her as well. After that, Surekha writes about her continual struggle to get the situation under control.
In her detailed post, Surekha raised some pertinent points about the online banking system and the working of e-commerce platforms in India, when it comes to making transactions. She questioned “…why it’s easy to use credit cards outside India without the two-step verification process that is mandatory in India? Why doesn’t Amazon have a system like that of Google where every suspicious activity is reported/ looked into?” Additionally, having faced a tough time in even getting in touch with the Amazon India customer care, she also highlighted the lack of speedy crisis response and language support for customers in emergency situations. ALSO READ: 3.2 million debit cards of Indian banks compromised; 4 things you should know
The issue is extremely pertinent for the Indian customers considering the recent incident, which may have been the worst security breach for the banks in India. About 32 lakh debit cards were estimated to have been impacted by malware at the back end, and were believed to have exposed the card and PIN details of its users. State Bank of India (SBI) and private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, YES Bank and Axis Bank were believed to have been most impacted by the malware. Considering that the malware had impacted the back end quite some time ago, banks along with RBI had hit the panic button, and were making efforts to control the damage.
How to keep your account and bank cards safe from phishing attacks
To ensure you’re safe from such phishing attacks, we’d recommend to regularly change your credit and debit card PIN. The same goes with your email and e-commerce account credentials. A lot of people save their credit and debit card information on e-commerce sites to be able to quickly buy products. No matter how secure the payment service is, there are things that can go wrong. We’d recommend not to save your details on e-commerce sites. Also, when you get any suspicious SMS or e-mail regarding purchases that you haven’t made; don’t ignore them and report immediately to the bank. In case of such an activity, it would be ideal to call the customer care and get your credit or debit card blocked.