Diary of An Irish Woman

musings of an irish lady now living in America.

Friday, May 30, 2008

careful with debit cards

So this is a big problem in UK, with gangs putting card readers on ATM's and scanning your card - collecting your pin and then later getting your money.

Here now in US last year I read about a case at Albertsons in Oakland and Alameda. Now a gang has started doing it at Gas or Petrol Stations right beside us in San Jose.

Also same day they found out In a separate case, more than 200 shoppers had their debit card information stolen after swiping their cards at a Lunardi's Supermarket in Los Gatos.

The problem occurs when you use your direct debit card - unknown to you the reader on the gas ATM reader or Store reader has a fake one attached - that's so good its hard to pick up. It scans your card, then your pin when you enter it and you get your gas drive off and they sit nearby with a computer collecting your information.

All they need to do then is pass any card with a magnetic strip on the card (like expired gift cards or old hotel keys) collect the information and then go to an ATM and take out money from your account.

This isn't one of those Internet ghost stories. Unfortunately its quite real. So credit cards are sometimes better if you can and always check the device you are scanning into.

In UK I remember my brother telling me that even if you see its fake to just walk away calmly looking like you took money out or got gas whatever and they call police a safe distance away. The nature of the devices is that the scammers are just nearby to collect the information so safer not to alert them you realize. (A man was killed by a Nigerian gang in UK after trying to take the ATM card scanner off the ATM, another beaten to a coma when the robbers realized he guessed it was a card scanner at a gas station)
As if rising oil prices wasnt scary enough without losing your savings at the pump as well. So be careful and double check before you use that card


At 3:35 PM, Blogger Angoraknitter said...

Wow, that's crazy! We'll have to be careful on our next trip!


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