Beware the 'broken' credit card machine trick - police

2015-06-25 16:27
Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Hardenberg. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Hardenberg. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - “This card machine is not working so I am just going to get another one quickly”. This situation is one many restaurant goers or shoppers are used to, but should be more wary of, as criminals are bringing in their own devices to steal your card information.

While unsuspecting patrons enjoy their after-meal mints, some criminally-minded waiters bring a specially programmed device that looks like a conventional point of sale (POS) machine to the table.

“What they've done is put skimming software into these POS devices and when you swipe your card through it, it records your card information. When you put your pin in, it records your pin number,” said Western Cape commercial crimes unit head Lieutenant-Colonel Jerome Hardenberg on Thursday.

“They [syndicates] would obviously pay waiters handsomely to introduce this. We very seldom found that managers were collusive when this happened.”

Once sneaky waiters have the information, they claim the machine is not working and leave the table to fetch another.

Hardenberg advised citizens to immediately keep the device on the table, check it has a serial number and call the manager over to confirm it belongs to the establishment. Any printouts should include the establishment’s details.

"This spike in card fraud is simply because it is profitable for them."

Criminals in the province had migrated to using POS devices since a special operation last year in which police confiscated at least 11 ATM skimming devices and parts used to make these devices. They found at least 2 000 cards and stored card and pin numbers.

This year, provincial police arrested 40 people for card fraud and confiscated five handheld skimmers and 14 POS devices, thanks to collaboration between various parties.

In the last two weeks, officers confiscated a POS device at a coffee shop and two devices at shopping malls.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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