What is skimming?
Skimming is a fraud which consists in copying the magnetic bar of a payment card or data from a chip card without the knowledge of its owner. A copied card acts as an authentic card in bank systems and all operations carried out with it debit the account of the original cardholder.
According to the police, the number of such crimes has significantly risen.
Methods of copying data
A card may be copied in a restaurant, shop, petrol station… virtually in every place which enables you to pay with a card. The card is scanned by shop assistants who cooperate with criminals or who are thieves themselves. Those who fall victims to such practices are clients whose cards do not require using the PIN number. In order to make a copy, the thief uses a small device equipped with a card scanner and a memory card, which allows for saving information from magnetic bars.
Cash machine skimming is even more dangerous. Thieves mount devices which capture both PIN codes as well as information from the card’s magnetic stripe above cash machines or inside them. They usually mount a hidden micro camera above the cash machine’s keypad and a scanner in the place where you insert the card.
Fraudsters can also install devices in the shutter area of the cash machine, stopping the money from being dispensed. An unaware victim is convinced that the cash machine had a fault and leaves empty-handed. A few moments later, the criminal removes the blocking device and takes the customer’s cash. In such situations, the customer isn’t protected in any way because the owner of the cash machine will have registered the transaction.
How you can protect your card
It is important to become aware of the scale and the reality of the danger and approach the cash machine with a degree of caution. Pay attention to whether the card reader looks suspicious or not, if there aren’t any unusual devices mounted around or on the cash machine, try to notice if the cash machine’s keypad doesn’t protrude strangely compared to the remaining part of the machine’s enclosure. If the cash machine’s breakdown occurs while you’re taking money out, contact the monitoring centre whose number should be visible on the upper part of the enclosure. The centre can remotely check the entire journey of your cash and see if the money has been taken out from your account or not. Additionally, if the customer suspects that there is a device stopping money from being dispensed, the monitoring centre will send a police patrol or a protection agency to examine if that is the case.
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