ATM Fraud

There are a number of ways of how criminals fraud unsuspecting individuals, as they approach an ATM and start effecting transactions. Three very common measures are shoulder surfing, card swapping and card trapping. These have become a common reality, and criminals use these tactics to target unsuspecting persons when they are using the machines to get their transactions done. Knowing about them and how they work could mean preventing one such fraud attack on you.

Know your environment

In order to always be a step ahead, know the dangers and look out for the signs. Whenever you are at an ATM, have a look at your environment before actually using the machine. Look out for anything suspicious that jars. Taking precautions could help you avoid compromising your Card or PIN.

Criminals often pretend to be friendly people walking by. They sometimes even try offering your assistance in using the ATM. Don't be fooled, of course. This is part of their plan to distract you, while they steal your information. 

The three most common fraud tactics

Understanding the most common criminal tactics, and how they work, could help you prevent any attacks. The three most common fraud tactics are:

  • Shoulder surfing: Someone stands behind you and watches you enter your PIN;
  • Card swapping: a fraudster manages to swap your card with one so similar that you can't tell the difference; and
  • Card trapping: criminals insert trapping devices into an ATM card slot, stopping your card from being returned to you. While you try to get your card back, an accomplice, pretending to be a random person walking by, offers to help. He or she will ask you to put in your PIN again, making note of the numbers, and watch you walk away in frustration as your card remains in the machine. They will then remove your card from the machine and make withdrawlas from your account.

Tips to avoid ATM fraud

Don't be fooled by Malta's relative safety! Here are some tips that can help you prevent potential attacks, both at home and abroad:

  • have your card ready, preferably before you get to the ATM, avoid opening your handbag or wallets in front of the ATM;
  • focus on completing your transaction and don't get distracted by anything or anyone;
  • always cover your PIN entry with one hand and don't let anybody see your PIN entry;
  • evaluate the ATM and its environment. Make sure there is good lighting on the ATM and that no one is strolling around or hovering over you;
  • make sure you are familiar with ATMs. If the machine seems tampered with or the card slot is loose or seems more bulky than usual, do not use it. Your card should fit smootly and easily into the slot, don't force it. If you are struggling to insert your card, use another ATM. Always lookout for strange objects or foreign materials attached to the machine; or
  • if you suspect foul play, or your card has been retained by an ATM, call BNF Bank on (+356) 2260 1000 or (+356) 2260 1500 to block your card.

The content in this article is provided solely to create customer awareness. It does not constitute legal advice.

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