When people come to me and say ‘I lost ….Rs.’ – they think that they have/ had a very unique case. Sorry there is too much of a pattern. Let me summarize (or let us call it a safe guard or a ‘do not do list):

1. Amazed to see people HANDOVER signed ‘Transfer Instruction Books’ – to their BROKERS. This is like committing suicide. If you keep your bank cheque book under lock and key (it may have a balance of Rs. 35000) how the HELL can you give away your TIFD to you broker with a portfolio worth Rs. 3.5 crores? beats me.

2. Giving the ATM card and password to a friend/ nephew/ etc. to withdraw money REGULARLY. God this is so damn stupid. AT least if you have an sms alert you know what has happened. One senior citizen’s nephew would with draw Rs. 5000 – from 2 atms and hand over ONE to him…Total loss Rs. 500,000 over a period of 4-5 years. Found out by using the bank cc camera.

3. Surprised that people do not change their ATM pin number for years at a time. Changing once in a while helps.

4. Do not store your pin number as a phone number in your cell phone. I found a girl who lost her purse (which of course had he cell AND her ATM card) and lost 22000 in 2-3 withdrawals.

5. Amazed to see people write down “PIN number: 5867” and keep it in the purse. God. Grow up.

6. I have been stunned by people asking me to help them with their ATM withdrawal. Well all ‘helpers’ may not be as lazy as me. Be careful. It is safest to ask the bank guard – IT AT ALL. At least you remember you had asked him – and if something goes wrong he can be traced.

Maybe there are more. I am sure, there are more, but right now these 6 were on the top of my mind….

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  1. Subra,

    I too have handed over the delivery slips signed for convenience sake since we moved out of Mumbai.There are some technial problems I face while I sell at them.I am an ex-bank officer and I anticipated the problems as you have mentioned.
    But I have ensured that I have scored off the off-market column and often check my demat account for the holding.When I sell,the amount is credited to my Bank account directly.Besides,my D-mat account is with the Bank and not the broker.

  2. Even dumb cases exist.
    Card in the purse, card pin in mobile, and the toll free number to inform lost card in the mobile too! 🙂

  3. I am a little confused here. As I understand, if you want to open a dmat trading account (ICICI Direct or Sharekhan), they take your signature and use it for buying or selling on your behalf. I am not sure but they take some power of attorney too. Without these, they don’t open the account at all. Is this not safe? Please let me know.

  4. 2 issues

    Now a days the Demat guys take the signature compulsorily, i know 2 friends who were told if u do not want to sign don’t open the account with us (imagine my face as i was the one who had told them not to sign).

    for the 2nd issue. it is just the simple fact of the world.
    Common sense is very Uncommon & Comical stupidity sense is extremely common.

  5. if you do not understand what you are signing and why you are signing, wow.

    God bless and hope that nothing goes wrong. Sadly hope is not strategy.

    So far nothing has gone wrong is such a stupid statement to make, I cannot even laugh.

  6. Sharing some other tips which I have learnt over the years 🙂

    … NEVER login to your netbanking / demat account from a public computer or a cyber-cafe !

    If you have no choice, and MUST do so, then –
    – use Firefox / Google Chrome (IE is still not trust-worthy, imho)

    – remember to LOG OUT of the session.
    Even though on most sites the session is automatically terminated after 5 – 10 mins, that is more than enough time for an over-the-shoulder hacker to continue using your session after you’ve left the terminal.

    – for ample measure, CHANGE THE PASSWORD to that account at the earliest possible, when you are able to access it from a trusted computer.
    This is to ensure that a keystroke logger did not capture your login credentials on the public computer / network !

    … Use a STRONG password for your netbanking / demat / other financial accounts.
    – at least 10 characters long
    – a combination of alpha + numeric + special characters
    – avoid using dictionary words
    – avoid using your user ID or name in the password

    … Do not use the SAME PASSWORD for your netbanking / demat account as other, general use websites (e.g. email / Facebook / news sites, etc.)
    – this is one of the easiest ways that hackers are able to crack into your online financial IDs and empty your account !

  7. Subra…
    I do keep the PIN given by the bank in the wallet along with the ATM/Debit Cards. However, I would change the pin before keeping the old one. In that way, the thief will be laughing at my foolishness and try the pin given in the wallet. It will invariably give a “wrong pin” message. Human tendency is to think that he has made a mistake in typing or reading the pin and he enters it again. Now, he will have just one chance to guess my pin. Now I have reduced chances of him guessing the right pin by 66%.

  8. Is there any option by which I can do online trading WITHOUT giving my signature/consent for the broker to buy/sell on my behalf? Please let me know, will close these accounts and open that one.
    Me and my friend circle is using ICICIDirect and Sharekhan since 2005, so far I haven’t seen any discrepancy in terms of money/shares/bonds/MF.

  9. i liked sudheer’s trick 🙂
    even better would be to confuse them further by messing up some of the numbers so that they try all the possible combinations…

  10. Articles for those who are already aware. How the hell, people will come to know, who make this mistakes.


    How to make awareness to those people who make these mistakes.

  11. Subra

    You write beautiful articles, why can not you spend some rs. 5000-10000 on seo. More people can see these articles and avoid mistakes by
    making these articles seo optimized.

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