Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated technologies to scam South Africans. Recent statistics from the South African Banking Risk Information Centre’s (SABRIC) Card Fraud report show that 1377 handheld skimming devices were recovered by the SAPS or bank investigators over the last decade.
In 2014, the majority of devices were recovered in Gauteng (38), KwaZulu- Natal (13) and the Western Cape (9).
ATM mounted skimming devices and those at points of sale are more popular.
There’s a new card skimmer that’s so thin that it can fit into any slot on any ATM, while other devices may be used with a small camera to capture a user’s PIN.
Using a smartphone and thermal technology (an imaging attachment), criminals can easily steal your PIN. The way this works is that your thermal signature is left behind when you press buttons, so criminals can use a smartphone with a FLIR ONE thermal imaging attachment to figure out your PIN. A way to avoid this is by lightly touching some other keys on the keypad.
Card skimming at payment points:
SA Credit card fraud increased by 23% in a year from R366.8 million in 2013, to R453.9 million in 2014.
Some retail outlets and restaurants have cashiers and waitrons who are working with criminals. They may use handheld skimming devices whereby a PIN is stolen by looking when the victim enters it, or by using thermal technology.
Customers are warned: if you cannot insert your chip card with your thumb pointed at the device and have your thumb remain fully on your card, do not enter your PIN.
Criminals typically tell victims they are from a bank and convince them to swipe their cards through a skimming device. An accomplice “shoulder surfs” to steal the PIN and a counterfeit card is made.
These can be difficult to recognise and can be fitted into any ATM.
SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay advises: “We urge bank customers to adhere to ATM safety tips such as not accepting assistance from anybody at the ATM and not letting their cards out of their sight when transacting.”