Every year in the UK, millions of pounds are lost as a result of card fraud. Criminals use various means to obtain your details, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Card Skimming and Cloning
With this type of fraud, criminals create a device which looks like the card entry point on the cash machine. They fit the device over the genuine slot of the cash machine and when people then use cash point, their card is skimmed and the information encoded on the magnetic strip is stored for fraudulent use.
Once they’ve successfully obtained the cardholder's details, fraudsters focus their attention on finding out the corresponding Personal Identification Number (PIN). PINs can be compromised in two ways.
Firstly, by shoulder surfing when the fraudster stands behind the cardholder and looks over their shoulder as they enter their number. Secondly, there’s increasing evidence of micro cameras being concealed within the lighting or false trunking around the cash machine to focus on PIN entry. Real-time images are often transmitted to a receiver attached to a hand held camera, typically within 100 metres of the cash machine. The details will then be matched with the corresponding card data. The fraudsters remove the device and download the information to create duplicate 'cloned' cards.
Stolen Card Fraud
When a card is lost or stolen, it can be used until it’s cancelled. Thieves can potentially buy goods worth thousands of pounds before the owners become aware that they’ve even been robbed.
To keep safe and help foil the fraudsters:
- Guard your card and details when making a transaction – don’t let it out of your sight.
- Shield your PIN when withdrawing money from a cash machine.
- Don’t write down information like PINs, passwords or logins.
- Don’t divulge your details in response to any emails claiming to be from your bank or the police. When on the phone, only reveal your details if you made the call.
- Access internet banking or shopping sites only by typing the address in your web browser.
- Always check for the locked padlock or unbroken key security icons.
- Shred documents and receipts which contain your personal information.
- Secure your computer with anti-virus software and a firewall.
- If your card is lost or stolen or you think it might have been used fraudulently, contact your bank or building society immediately.