Commonwealth logo, ACCC Logo and Scamwatch banner




 

Card skimming

What is card skimming?

‘Card skimming’ is the illegal copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit or ATM card. It is a more direct version of a phishing scam.

The scammers try to steal your details so they can access your accounts. Once scammers have skimmed your card, they can create a fake or ‘cloned’ card with your details on it. The scammer is then able to run up charges on your account.

Card skimming is also a way for scammers to steal your identity (your personal details) and use it to commit identity fraud. By stealing your personal details and account numbers the scammer may be able to borrow money or take out loans in your name.

Warning signs

  • A shop assistant takes your card out of your sight in order to process your transaction.
  • You are asked to swipe your card through more than one machine.
  • You see a shop assistant swipe the card through a different machine to the one you used.
  • You notice something suspicious about the card slot on an ATM (e.g. an attached device).
  • You notice unusual or unauthorised transactions on your account or credit card statement.

Protect yourself from card skimming

  • Keep your credit card and ATM cards safe. Do not share your personal identity number (PIN) with anyone. Do not keep any written copy of your PIN with the card.
  • Check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank.
  • Choose passwords that would be difficult for anyone else to guess.

As well as following these specific tips, find out how to protect yourself from all sorts of other scams.

Do your homework

If you are using an ATM, take the time to check that there is nothing suspicious about the machine.

Ask yourself if you trust the person or trader who you are handing your card over to. If a shop assistant looks like they are going to take your card out of your sight, ask if it is really necessary.

Decide

If an ATM looks suspicious, do not use it and alert the ATM owner.

If you are in a shop and the assistant wants to swipe your card out of your sight, or in a second machine, you should ask for your card back straight away and either pay with a cheque or cash, or not make the purchase.

Report them

If you think you have seen a card skimming scam, you should contact the bank, credit union or credit card provider that has been targeted. You should also report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

If you think your card has been skimmed, contact your bank or credit union immediately to report it.

You can also let the authorities know through the report a scam section of SCAMwatch, and warn your family and friends about the scam.

Top

What to do if you've been scammed; Scams & the law; Report a scam.

Similar scams:


Phishing emails are fake emails usually pretending to be from banks or other financial institutions. They make up some reason for you to give your account details and then use these details to steal your money.

Scammers pretend to be from your bank or financial institution and tell you that there is a problem with your account. They ask for your account details to protect your money, but then use these details to steal your money.

There are many types of scams that aim to steal your credit card details, either by taking the card itself or by tricking you into giving them the card’s details.

Spyware is a type of software that spies on what you do on your computer. Key-loggers record what keys you press on your keyboard. Scammers can use them to steal your online banking passwords or other personal information.

Printer friendly
Quick links
Related topics
 

© Commonwealth of Australia 2014