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08 Aug, 2018
ATM Skimming: The latest high-tech ATM Fraud in Kolkata

In the past couple of days, complaints have been filed on the ATM Fraud that duped 78 customers of leading private and public sector banks who allegedly lost 20 Lac Rupees. According to the experts, fraudsters used the skimming technique to clone debit/credit card and withdrew money from remote locations.

What is ATM skimming?

ATM skinning is like identity theft for debit cards. The skimming procedure involves theft of card information when the card is swiped during a legitimate transaction.

How does it work?

Thieves install Skimmers, an electronic device over the normal card reading slot of ATM machines. Skimming takes two separate components to work. Firstly, skimmers record the data from the magnetic strip that is on the back of your card and steal personal information stored on your card. However, to gain full access to your bank account, thieves need your PIN number. How to get that? They place tiny spy cameras that are positioned to get a clear view of the keypad and record all the ATM's PIN related actions. Some skimming schemes also employ fake keypads in lieu of cameras to capture PIN numbers. Just like the card skimmers fit over the ATM's true card slot, skimming keypads are designed to mimic the keypad's design and fit over it like a glove. If you notice that the keypad on your ATM seems to protrude oddly from the surface around it, or if you spy an odd color change between the pad and the rest of the ATM, beware. It could be a fake.

The thieves can use all the information to manufacture counterfeit cards, make purchases and withdraw funds from your bank account.

How to spot skimmer if installed?

Identifying a skimmer is actually easy if you are alert. Check the ATM machine thoroughly prior using it. In a tampered machine, the card reader section might be extended than usual. Also, it can be slightly loose in a machine which has been configured with the skimmer. If a keypad on the ATM seems to protrude out oddly, it can be a fake one. Try to avoid that machine.

How to avoid being duped?

As scammers are applying more sophisticated methods to steal financial information, few things to be followed to avoid being a victim:

  1. Cover the PIN pad with your hands as you enter your secret code so that the camera can't see what you are entering.
  2. Avoid using ATM machines which are not under the surveillance of CCTV camera. Criminals often target them for such malicious activities.
  3. Before inserting your card, take a moment to inspect the ATM's components as bulky parts or components that are not fully attached to the machine could be a sign there is an ATM skimmer present.
  4. Register for SMS updates to stay up-to-date with your bank transactions. This will help you get an alert when a suspicious transaction is done using your card.
  5. Call the customer service number on the ATM immediately if a machine appears suspicious or if it does not function properly.

If you suspect, you have used a tampered machine or your ATM details have been stolen report the fraud as soon as possible. At first, the complaint should be lodged at the bank your account belongs to and that too as early as possible. According to RBI, "longer the time is taken to notify the bank, the higher will be the risk of loss." The bank that has issued you the card will pay you back the money.

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