ATM, Credit Card Skimming in Pakistan is a modern theft technique crooks are using in abundance these days. Skimmers are small devices that can scan and store credit/debit card data from the magnetic stripe. Target or victim of skimming is blind of the theft and only notice when money is already withdrawn from his/her account, or monthly bill knocks the door. For this theft, the card never leaves the possession of the victim. Surprised? Let us learn how did the theft occur.
1. A skimmer (Magnetic Strip Reader) is installed in the swapping or ATM’s “Card Insert Area”
In the left-hand side, the original card insert area is shown. The circled area on the right-hand side shows that how the crook has installed a face plate on the spot. This addition is the skimmer device. When a victim inserts his/her card, the faceplates installed on these machines usually contain hardware which reads your card’s magnetic stripe before it enters into the original ATM card slot.
2. A pinhole camera or fake pin pad is installed on the “PIN Pad Area”
Your PIN number is either observed by a person “shoulder surfing” or by a hidden pinhole camera mounted on the machine and pointed at the keypad. In some cases, however, a fake pin pad has been found on the original keyboard of the device. Once you enter your pin code, it is either recorded by the pin camera, by an observer or through fake pin pad. While the chances of the latter two are less, the pin camera is the most abundant option used for recording pin number.
2. Data is retrieved through wireless or USB
While the skimming devices can have multiple options to transmit the stolen data, most of the time, it is done through WiFi. The fraudster can retrieve the data down on his personal laptop/mobile while sitting as much as 100 meters away from the machine through WiFi/3G-LTE connectivity. To keep the skimmers working a Lithium-ion battery is installed which can keep them functional for many weeks.
3. A duplicate card is made through the clone machine
The magnetic strip data and Pin Code retrieved from the skimmer, and the camera is then used to make a new duplicate card. The new card is a clone of your original Debit/Credit card and can be used anywhere at any machine to draw amount from your account.
Worried? How to avoid Card Skimming…
ATM, Credit Card Skimming in Pakistan is a growing day by day. While fraudsters devise new ways to cheat you every other day, but there are still some basic things you can do to protect yourself:
Watch Insert Card Area. Never use your card on a machine where the card insert area is doubtful. When a skimmer is installed, the place is extra-embossed.
Check for Visible Tempering. When you approach an ATM, check for some obvious signs of tampering at the top of the ATM, near the speakers, the side of the screen, the card reader itself, and the keyboard. If something looks different, such as a different color or material, graphics that aren’t aligned correctly, or anything else that doesn’t look right, don’t use that ATM. The same goes for card swapping machines.
Never Use, If Machine Asks for PIN Twice. Never use your card in a machine which asks you to enter your pin twice.
Cover your pin pad. Always use your hand and body to cover your keypad when operating a handheld pin pad or a payment processing machine like an ATM — even when alone. This will prevent shoulder surfers and pinhole cameras from observing your PIN number.
Watch your card. If you must hand your debit or credit card to an employee, don’t take your eyes off of it. It only takes a second for your card to be swiped while you look the other way.
Pay Cash. When eating at restaurants, pay in cash instead of giving your debit/credit card to a cashier for processing.
Review your statements. View your bank and card statements on a regular basis. Watch for suspicious transactions.
Notify someone. If you spot a skimmer, suspicious pin pad or payment processing machine, notify someone immediately. If you are using a bank’s ATM and the bank is open, notify the bank manager. Otherwise, call the helpline.
Allied Bank Limited (ABL) has recently issued the following Skimming Prevention Tips for its customers to protect them from ATM, Credit Card Skimming in Pakistan.