In this article, you will learn all about:
- How this fraud or online money frauds happen
- How can you avoid online money frauds
- What to do if it happens with you
- Steps to get your money back
- How to get your debit/credit card reissued by bank
If you ever get duped by the online frauds, this will act as a stepwise guide for you.
Note: I am explaining the process for the online fraud done by merchant Google *Proxima Beta but it will remain the same for any online money fraud.
Online money frauds are on the rise with the more penetration of internet all over the globe. Today, it is easier to steal your money online than by using primitive ways of the non-internet era.
Avoiding the internet is not the solution. Internet is a necessity these days. We can not stop using it altogether. But you must take pre-emptive measures to keep your money safe.
Recently, a lot of credit and debit card users got duped by a merchant named Google *Proxima Beta including me. Money got deducted from my credit card via unauthorized transactions on Google Play Store purchases.
I end up losing Rs 998 via a total of 4 transactions. I did a google search to find out more about it. I got to know that it is happening with a lot of users all over the world, not just limited to India. I end up being lucky as a lot of users have lost over lacs of rupees via this online fraud.
Now, while I was searching for answers on google, I find no articles covering all the aspects of online money frauds. While there is a lot of information available around such frauds in bits and pieces. I thought to put out a definitive guide to help everyone out there who got conned just like me.
How is unauthorized fraud transactions via Google *Proxima Beta happening?
As the case with most credit cardholders in India, an OTP is required to authorize any transaction. However, merchants can always do a one-time verification/authentication of the card for recurring transactions like Netflix/EMI etc.
Once done, the transactions would happen without OTP as it happens for postpaid mobile bills or rented furniture or Netflix etc. This verification/authentication of the card is done by debiting Rs 1 and crediting it back to the user.
This merchant – Google *Proxima Beta – is doing the verification/authentication of the card to deduct the money without OTP as it’s first step.
Now I find Google to blame here. How can they allow such verification/authentication of the card without the customer’s consent? I don’t even use Google Play Store for Apps. I have an iPhone. So this fraud can happen with anyone.
As you can see in the below screenshot, I got a message at 7.30 AM in the morning regarding this Rs 1 transaction with description GOOGLE *TEMPORARY HOLD. This is the verification/authentication of the card message.
I got the Rs 1 back within seconds – that means I have given consent to this merchant for deduction from my credit card without an OTP to authorize the transaction.
Subsequently, I received 4 messages that I have spent money at Google *Proxima Beta. In total, I lost Rs 998 (420+420+79+79 = 998) as you can see in the above screenshots.
What can you do to avoid it from happening?
Now, you can avoid it but you have to act fast. As soon as you get the verification/authentication message of Rs 1 spend at GOOGLE *TEMPORARY HOLD on your credit or debit card, call the number mentioned in message and hotlist/block your card. If the number is not there, you can find it on the credit or debit card on the backside.
Remember, you will only get a few minutes (less than 5 mins in most cases) before the unauthorized transactions without OTP start, so act accordingly.
Also, there are few other things that you can do to avoid such frauds. I am sharing those at the end of this article.
What you must do once it happens with you?
The banks will notice the unauthorized transactions for sure. As the verification/authentication of the card for deduction without OTP and actual deductions happen almost simultaneously, and there are multiple transactions with different amounts.
Banks are bound to notice this abrupt behaviour in credit card spending and you will get a call from the Bank regarding the unauthorized transactions within a few minutes. Do attend it, listen carefully and respond positively.
If you don’t get a call or miss it somehow, Do call on the helpline number and make the Bank aware of this fraud as soon as possible. No need to panic about your money as long as your report such transactions to banks. Your money will be refunded. All you have to do is follow the process.
Steps to get your money back
1. Block the credit/debit card right away
As soon as you get to know about the unauthorized transaction fraud, the first thing you must do is to hotlist/block your credit/debit card.
Call on the helpline or customer care number of your respective bank to block the card. So that no more such transactions can happen from your card. This is to minimize the damage.
2. Report the transaction to your Bank by filling out cardholder dispute form (CDF)
It is necessary to fill out the dispute form for all unauthorized or suspicious transactions. Any transaction dispute needs to be reported to the Bank in writing within 60 days from the date of the disputed transaction.
While Banks can approve your cards online, provide you with insurance or loan with a phone call but when you need them the most, they will surely ask you to do some manual work. When it comes down to money, they are not so user friendly. You can find CDF form on the bank’s website.
As you can see below, I have filled out details of all 4 transactions and ticked the unauthorized dispute option from all the dispute options available. There are many dispute option available. You can choose the appropriate dispute reason according to the fraud that occurs with you.
Once you fill out this CDF (cardholder dispute form), take a scan of the form and email it to the mentioned address at the bottom of the form.
Note: As the unauthorized transaction fraud happened on HDFC Credit Card for me, I have shown the CDF of HDFC Bank. Other banks will have a similar type form. You can reach out to the helpline number of respective banks and they will guide you through.
3. Report the transaction to google
Now this particular fraud transaction that happened with me is for some purchase on Google Play Store via merchant Google *Proxima Beta. You must report such transactions to Google.
You can report this transaction to Google by filling the unauthorized purchases form. Upon opening the link, a warning pop will come. Click continue only after checking the mentioned warning.
The form is pretty much straightforward and asks for just 4 details – Payment Method, Purchase Date, Amount and description of the issue (optional) as mentioned below. If there are multiple such unauthorized transactions, you can add all of them one by one by clicking on the add button.
4. File a complaint to cyber cell
India has a National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal under the ministry of Home Affairs. You don’t have to go to a police station to file a complaint against such cyber-crimes (online money frauds). You can directly go to the cyber-crime portal and file a complaint online.
Click on file a complaint and follow the steps. It may take some time to fill out the long-form but it is necessary to do so. Explain the fraud in a detailed manner.
Once done, you will receive the acknowledgement number. An email with the same will also be sent on your email id with all the details provided by you while filling out the form.
Note: You will receive all the update of this complaint via SMS and email both.
Once you complete all the steps mentioned above, rest assured that you will get your money back. It may take some time but you will not lose it.
As you may remember against such online frauds, blocking your credit or debit card is step 1. Now let’s how can you get a new card.
How to get your credit/debit card reissued?
While you call on helpline number to block your card, the executive will ask you if you want to apply for a new card. Now, there can be 2 possibilities.
- If the address provided by you while applying for the credit or debit card is the same as where you are staying right now or if you frequently visit the place.
In this scenario, you can tell the executive to reissue a fresh card on the same call or you can call on helpline number anytime and get it reissued. Remember, the card will be delivered to the same address.
- If you want to get it delivered on a new address (the current address where you are residing). In this scenario, either you have to visit the nearest branch and get your address changed via filling out an address change form or you can take the print out of the form by yourself at home/shop and courier it to the bank’s head office for address change. Once it is done, you can simply call on helpline number and get is reissued.
Rest assured that you will get your money back. Stay patient, follow the process and help Bank/CyberCell/Google in identifying the culprit.
Be cautious when you download any app from Play/App store or otherwise. Do not make any purchase from unsecured websites. You should also remove your credit card details from Google Play Store and from all other apps as well. The best solution to curb such online money fraud is to stay vigilant.