The Risk of ATM Cards and How to Thwart Them

0
396
views
The Risk of ATM Cards and How to Thwart Them

Debit as well as credit, both the avatars of ATM cards have soared in popularity over the past half decade. The reasons are obvious – they are convenient to carry, easy-to-use and even enjoy global acceptance as payment modes. Not to miss mention the momentum that eCommerce has also given to the widespread usage of plastic cards that also earn bonus points and cashback offers.

But, like all good things that have a dark side, under the hood of ATM cards lurk some dangers that most users are unaware of. Dangers which result in the aftermath of large sums of money being siphoned off.

If you are a regular plastic or ATM card user, here are some pointers to bear in your mind. Who knows, they might save your hard-earned money from being stolen by scamsters in the days to come.

Be in the know: ATM card scams from all around the world

If you look at ATM card frauds from a 30,000 feet view, you will notice that they are of two broad types:

  • Offline scams – Scams that happen in physical spaces or when the card is physically available.
  • Online scams – Scams that take place during online transactions and is schemed by hackers or cyber criminals.

Let’s take under the veil and examine how each of these types of scams are devised and how you can protect yourself from falling victim.

Offline scams

Skimming

  • What is it?

ATM card details are stolen at the POS (Point of Sale) using a small device that is attached to the card reader without the user’s knowledge.

  • How is it done?

Criminals attach a small card reading device called the skimmer which is capable of reading the card’s details and storing it for later retrieval. The skimmer collects the data stored in the magnetic strip of the card thus giving them the details needed to carry out online transactions even without the physical card.

  • How to safeguard yourself?

Always check the device into which the card is being inserted. If the POS looks suspicious, like bulky with an additional layer, more buttons or ill-fitting with the console, do not make the transaction.

Card trapping

  • What is it?

The ATM machine is physically modified to retain the card even after the transaction is complete.

  • How is it done?

A barb or a hook is used to retain the card from being ejected out of the machine. The helpless user leaves the card in the machine which is later retrieved by the thieves.

  • How to safeguard yourself?

Avoid using old models of ATM machines that absorb or swallow the card. Look for modern ATM machines that swipe the card for transactions.

Shoulder surfing

  • What is it?

As the name suggests, the card details like card number and PIN number are stolen by someone who looks while the transaction is being carried out.

  • How is it done?

In most instances, shoulder surfing happens because users inadvertently share their card details which is misused.  

  • How to safeguard yourself?

Do not write down or share your card details with anyone. Avoid spelling out the card number or its PIN over the phone or in person. Always memorize the numbers to save yourself from shoulder surfing.

Card cloning

  • What is it?

A duplicate of the ATM card is created or obtained through deceitful means.

  • How is it done?

Hackers use software to create a duplicate card that bears the same serial number and PIN as the original. The original card details are obtained through various means including skimming, shoulder surfing, etc.

  • How to safeguard yourself?

Establish two-factor authentication like OTP or profile password for all online transactions. Check your bank statements regularly to spot unusual debits or charges that you have not transacted.

Online scams

Malware

  • What is it?

Malware programs that take the form of malicious attachments get into the user’s computer or mobile stealing card details.

  • How is it done?

Malicious links, attachments or programs are downloaded into the user system. The malware uses keylogging to steal card data entered through the system.

  • How to safeguard yourself?

Always protect your system with an antivirus program. Run regular security checks to weed out malware.

Pharming

  • What is it?

User data is stolen by redirecting their online payment pages to fake websites. These websites were often pharma-based product websites which led to the term ‘pharming’.

  • How is it done?

Users are redirected to fake websites that resemble the original ones. The fake websites collect user-submitted card data which is then used for other fraudulent transactions.

  • How to safeguard yourself?

If in any case you are redirected to another website that you are not aware of, abort the transaction without further ado. Check for website encryption which is indicated by a green HTTPS bar and a padlock symbol. Additionally, click on the SSL certificate to view the website domain ownership details to ensure its veracity.

Phishing

  • What is it?

Cyber crime tactic where users are targeted with phishing emails that resemble like they originate from a trusted source or from a known person.

  • How is it done?

Users are sent requests to make money transfers to attached account numbers. Since the mail is originating from someone known and trusted by the user, they enact the transfer thus falling prey to fraudsters.

  • How to safeguard yourself?

Every email that claims to be coming from your bank may not be so. Always check for the sender’s identity and ensure it is really a genuine email. Again, the HTTPS certificate or the trust seal of the bank would help figure out the real mails from the fake ones.

For a safer tomorrow…

ATM cards are so convenient that they are fast replacing hard cash. They are also getting smarter by the day, think contactless cards, NFC payments and the likes. As we users become increasingly reliant on cards for our daily lives, the frauds that take advantage of them will also grow exponentially.

Staying safe would not be easy if you remain ignorant of the many dangers and how they occur. Be in the know of how cards are misused and how to safeguard yourself from their perils. Be on the safer side of the net for a safer tomorrow.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
The Risk of ATM Cards and How to Thwart Them
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here