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ATM SKIMMER & POS

ATM Skimming   |  Point of Sale  |  Safety tips 


Consider this incident

Jeremy was on his way to work and suddenly remembered that he had to buy flowers for Janice his co-worker who was celebrating her birthday that day. Jeremy pulled up at the closest ATM centre as he was falling short of cash. Jeremy went inside to withdraw $100 and left in a rush. After two days Jeremy was performing an online transaction and noticed a withdrawal of $2,000 the same day that he distinctly remembered to have withdrawn a mere $100. Alarmed he informed the bank authorities and upon investigation it turned out that his ATM card had been duplicated and whoever had duplicated it had withdrawn the sum from his account.

This is just one example of an ATM machine fraud or in other words ATM Skimming. Slight ignorance on your part would lead to heavy losses while performing ATM or credit card transactions.


What is skimming?

Skimming is the process where original data from your cards magnetic strip is electronically copied to create a duplicate card without your knowledge. Most cases of counterfeit fraud involve skimming.

Types of skimming

Here are the two most common ways of how fraudsters can duplicate ATM and credit cards:

Card skimming

A scanning device (skimmer) is used here that copies the information present in the magnetic strip of your ATM card when u insert it in an ATM machine. When you perform your transaction, the skimmer copies all the details of your card on to the device and an overhead tiny camera records your PIN. The fraudsters can access the skimmer and camera using the laptops wireless feature sitting near by ATM machine or pull the skimmer and camera from the ATM and then copy the skimmer data into a computer. Now they make a duplicate magnetic strip using a device called MSR (Magnetic Stripe Recorder) and withdraw large sums of money from your account using the PIN number.


Card trapping

A device attached inside the ATM machine traps your card as soon as you insert it. Well meaning people around you will request you to make a couple of attempts to perform transactions to observe and make a note of your PIN number. And, when you get frustrated, give up, and move out of the ATM center to report the same to the bank, miscreants would remove the trapping device, take your card from it, and as they are already aware of the PIN, they would have performed huge transactions within no time.

Now that you have learnt some information about ATM Skimming, its time you knew about Point of Sale (POS) skimming.


Point of Sale (POS) Skimming

ATM skimming is limited to just ATMs so you know you have to be careful when you are at an ATM, but Point of Sale scams /skimming can happen at the most unassuming and innocuous seeming places like bars, restaurants, supermarkets or gas stations. When you offer your card to make a payment all that the corrupt employee has to do is to skim your card with a small, hand-held electronic device before handing your card back. This device captures all details about your card and the sales person observe and make a mental note of your pin number while you enter it, this is known as shoulder surfing.

Once the corrupt employee has your card details and PIN number, he can create a duplicate card and with draw cash at an ATM or go on a shopping spree.


Safety tips to protect yourself against card skimming frauds

Here are few steps you can take to protect your ATM and credit cards:
Safeguard your credit cards and ATM cards at all times.
Never let these cards out of your sight
You see a shop assistant swipe the card through a different machine to the one you used. You need to question this action.
If you notice something suspicious about the card slot on an ATM (like an attached device), do not use it and report it to the responsible authorities.
Never trust your ATM card and credit card PIN numbers to strangers.
Be aware of your surroundings while withdrawing money at ATM centers. Do not crumple and throw away the transaction slips or credit card memos: read them, make a mental note of the details and then, either tear them or shred them to trash them.
Periodically check your account balances on Internet or by requesting your bank or credit agency to send you statements to ensure that no transactions are happening behind your back.
While entering any personal identification numbers (PIN), use your discretion to shield the keypad so that your hand movements are not very visible and you enter your passwords secretly.
Well armed with this knowledge about ATM skimming and POS skimming we hope that you will be more careful the next time you are at an ATM or while making transactions with your card.