On a good and early summer in Italy, traveling from Porta Nuova to San Marino, in Turin, on Tram 4, I encountered the most grim and ghastly experience of my entire life.
On this populous jaunt, a fraudster craftily robbed my wallet which had cards bearing identifying data and debit cards. As I stepped off Tram 4, my smartphone rattled with notification(s) of money being debited from both my Indian debit card and Italian debit card. The crafty criminal began to use my contactless debit cards, and within 7 minutes made over 40 transactions of 2500INR (the minimal amount that can be withdrawn without the need of a pin number) and I suffered exorbitant monetary loss.
Lifeless and discomposed for a split second, I was attempting to digest these ersatz transactions; I instantly called the Indian bank and the Italian bank to block my debit cards to avoid further monetary loss. The following day, I lodged a complaint at Via Pier Dominico Olivero, 13 police station in Turin, Italy. Officer Sicali Basilio recorded my complaint comprehensively and was very concerned about my emotional trauma.
On furnishing my police complaint, and within 24 hours of this uncivilized episode, the Indian bank blocked the fraudulent transactions recognizing the beneficiary to be a fraudster, and re-credited all the monetary loss I suffered by way of this particular fraudulent transaction. Several educated literates were stunned, including my own mother who thought she was trapped into kidology when I mentioned about the reimbursement.
The following day, I presented myself at the Italian bank, I learned to understand that there exists a specific policy, on recognition of unauthorized transactions that disallows fraudulent card operations in case of theft, loss, cloning, non-delivery of cash at the ATM and other suspicious online scams and reimburses the loss incurred on the production of the police complaint within ‘48hours.’
On the feast of St. Anthony, a finest afternoon, I was explaining myself to a dear friend about my traumatic episodes, and to be very precise after about 336 hours this ghastly incident, I received a call from the police station, who informed me that my wallet was traced and found. Enraptured in this miracle, I presented myself to the police station at Porta Nova, to collect my wallet and withdraw my complaint.
Officer Allesandaro and Officer Mirco with their most efficient service guided me in complying with the relevant procedures and also enlightened me with some very wise words of wisdom and safety measures. In veneration, I am eternally grateful to the Department of Police, Italy for making me feel safe and secure in a foreign land.
To multitudes, I want to share a lesson I learnt from my most bitter experience – although contactless cards are not circulated extensively in India at the moment, in this digital era, sooner or later it shall or rather will. In the series of development(s), fraudsters have invented particular equipment, relatively diminutive that siphons and swindles money (without the need to of insertion of a pin) when it is merely placed within a certain proximity of the contactless cards.
In other words, the fraudster can be sitting or standing next to someone anywhere and or everywhere with this equipment and one can incur a substantial monetary loss in microseconds. Therefore from firsthand experience, I denounce the use of contactless cards, secondly, a notification on a mobile phone by way of text or emails must be activated as it can alert a victim of online fraud rather instantly.
In order to render the economic rights to every citizen of India guaranteed in the Indian Constitution, it is the fundamental duty of the State to incorporate similar laws (that exist in Italy) that protect and safeguard it’s citizens of their economic rights in case of online scams by not merely blocking accounts temporarily but also by reimbursing the money lost by way of a fraudulent transaction(s) upon instant investigation and confirmation of fraudulent/unauthorized online and/or offline transaction(s).
In order for a citizen to enjoy his or her economic rights, it is the fundamental duty to inform the police and the bank at the earliest opportunity of such a scam(s). After all, do your part and the rest will fall into place…(even in case of a loss, which must be avoided in the first place and so be attentive!)
Honour-bound to several pillars of hope and support who were at my worst, with an attitude of gratitude, I too pray and hope to be as compassionate are you were and reciprocate everything said and done with love and kindness.
Dottoressa.Maffi, Advocate, holds a degree in law from London, a Legum Magister in Legal Practice from the City University, UK, A Master of Arts in Human Rights, a Legum Magister from United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, Italy, a Certificate in Migration and its link to Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development Agenda from University for Peace, Costa Rica, and a Certificate in Global Governance, University for Peace, Costa Rica and a former United Nations Volunteer at UNICEF.