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Protect Your Money from Fraudsters

Aug 21, 2008
Shoppers have been warned to be careful with chip & pin due to criminals using the devices to copy data detailing their account, and cloning the cards to be used abroad in countries where chip & pin has not been introduced. Even cashpoints are prone to fraud, with criminals using cameras and other devices to steal cards, pin numbers or simply data from the card.

There are three ways for criminals to defraud customers using ATMs:

The Lebanese Loop
This involves fraudsters inserting a piece of plastic into the card reader, which stops the card from ejecting. While the customer is confused, the thieves may pose as helpful Samaritans and get the customer to enter his or her PIN again so they can steal it. They simply then remove the card and have memorised the PIN.

Electronic
In this fraud, criminals will install tiny cameras on the cash machine, and a 'throat skimmer' on the card hole which scans and records data from the credit or debit card. Once thieves remove these devices they have gathered enough information to clone the card, and have a recording of the PIN being entered to use with the cloned card.

Distraction
This technique involves thieves watching the PIN being entered, distracting the customer at the ATM, usually by placing a ten-pound note on the floor and telling them they have dropped it, while they sneakily scan and copy the customer's card and remember the PIN. Often thieves will pretend to be making phone calls while secretly aping the buttons being pressed.

But Chip & PIN is not as safe as it was once believed. It has been reported that fraudsters are altering processing machines to store card information so that these can be cloned and used in countries where transactions can still be processed with a signature.

Steps to avoid being hit-

ATMs
Cover your hand when entering your PIN. Remember, thieves don't need to steal your card to make off with your cash. Just a copy of the information and that PIN is all they need.

Look for suspicious devices around cash machines. If you see something, report it to the bank and use a different cashpoint. Do not try to remove a device, fraudsters may stop at nothing to get it back as these devices are expensive and incriminating.

Chip & PIN
Don't let your card or card details out of your sight when making a transaction.

Destroy or shred any receipts or documents detailing your financial information.

Do not write down PINs, login details or passwords anywhere, and do not disclose this information to anyone, particularly via email or phone.

Only give out card details over the phone when you have called the company before and are familiar with them.

Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and firewall installed.

Only shop at secure websites, and only when you enter the url yourself; do not follow links from emails and then enter personal information, it could be a trap.

Check your bank statements to detect fraud as early as possible.
About the Author
John McE writes on behalf of CardSave, the UK's largest buying group for independent retailers delivering substantial savings on a wide range of business services, including credit and debit card processing.
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