Incidents of card skimming are on the rise. It is a unique trick used by fraudsters to steal money from your bank account. Citizens are losing lakhs of rupees to this fraud and fraudsters from foreign countries are coming to India, to cheat citizens out of hard earned money. Recently, three Romanians were arrested in Chandigarh in relation to card skimming.
In case of card skimming, fraudsters insert a small electronic device called a skimmer in an ATM machine, to steal card information. When you insert a card in an ATM slot, skimmers capture and store important information from the magnetic strip of your debit card. This information is copied to another magnetic strip of a blank card and it can be used to withdraw money from your bank account.
Examples of card skimming
In the month of May, at least 50 people have reportedly lost lakhs of rupees on swiping debit cards, at a tampered HDFC Bank ATM in Gurgaon. These people got to know about this loss, only after they received SMS alerts of money being withdrawn from their accounts. Fraudsters had installed a skimmer in the ATM to collect data of people who swiped debit cards.
Many people in Kolkata also lost lakhs of rupees to card skimming, in just 7 days. As incidents of card skimming are taking place in different parts of the country, you should know how to spot card skimming.
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If the card reader of the ATM looks loose or shaky, there are chances of the ATM machine being tampered. Fraudsters place a thin film on the keypad to capture keystrokes. In case you notice such films avoid transacting at that machine. Avoid transacting at machines which seem bulky, or are at dark and deserted corners.
Fraudsters usually target ATMs which are located in a dark and deserted area to fix card skimmers. So, it is advisable not to use such ATMs to stay safe from skimmers. ATMs located next to the bank branch will have a guard. It is good to use such machines as chances of installing skimmers are very low.
As a precaution, you should register yourself with the bank, to get bank SMS, email service and receive real-time alerts. In case there is any fraudulent withdrawal from your bank account, you will receive a message or email from your bank. Some banks even let you lock the card or set limits on how much you can spend using your card. You must also develop the habit of monitoring your bank account and credit card statements regularly.
If you are a victim of card skimming, report it to the bank as soon as possible and get your card blocked. This can help avoid further withdrawals. You will be compensated if you notify the bank early and there is no fault from your end.