Keep eye on your money

2015-08-18 06:01
Residents are cautioned to be wary of ATM skimming devices which could lead to theft from your bank account.

Residents are cautioned to be wary of ATM skimming devices which could lead to theft from your bank account.

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Police have cautioned residents to be wary of criminals using skimming devices to conduct fraud.

To raise awareness against falling victim to fraud, residents have been encouraged to become familiar with information on skimming devices.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says criminals increasingly make use of magnetic strip card readers, also known as skimming devices or magnetic swipe readers, to duplicate credit and debit cards.

A skimming device is a type of card reader which records the data encoded on the back of a card (on the magnetic strip) when a card is swiped through it. The data is used to duplicate the card and to steal the funds in the account of the card holder.

“Skimming can occur when an unsuspecting card holder swipes their card through an illegal skimming device attached to an ATM or when another person who, for instance, is working at a retailer, restaurant, hotel or who is impersonating a bank official, illegally swipes the card through a hand-held card reader,” Kleinsmith explains.

Criminals download the data recorded from the card onto a computer to manufacture a fraudulent duplicate card or cards.

“Skimming of the card can therefore occur when a card holder is still in possession of their card or when another person is handed the card to facilitate a transaction.”

Kleinsmith adds that in South Africa criminals mainly use two methods of skimming: A hand-held skimming device and high-tech ATM devices.

“The hand-held skimming devices are small and operated by hand. The criminal needs to acquire a card and would then swipe it through the device by hand,” she explains.

“With the high-tech ATM devices they are specially moulded to be attached to an ATM, often in conjunction with other recording devices such as spy cameras or keypad overlays aimed at recording PIN numbers. The card is not held by the criminal at all.

“These devices are often modified to such an extent that it is difficult to distinguish between an ATM that has a skimming device attached to it and one that has not been tampered with,” Kleinsmith says.

Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant when using their cards. If it is suspected that your card has been duplicated or your account details have been shared, call your bank immediately to stop the card and report the incident to police.

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