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How important it is to protect yourself from ATM frauds like skimming and cloning?

Protect yourself from ATM frauds like skimming and cloning


In India, net banking and payment card fraud cases increased by 50%, as per a 2019 report. These accounted for fraudulent ATM withdrawals, along with unlawful online transactions. 

  • Delhi had the maximum number of ATM fraud cases at the time.
  • The city accounted for almost 27% of all reported ATM fraudulent instances.

With such an increasing frequency of ATM fraud cases, individuals need to enforce certain security measures to protect their confidential information. Failing to do so may lead to significant financial losses.

ATM skimming is one of the most prevalent threats today. To safeguard against such instances, individuals must be aware of the skimming process.

What is skimming?

Skimming is a process where scammers collect one’s debit or credit card data using an ATM  skimmer. These are small machines, which resemble the card reader on an ATM machine. When fixed on such a machine, individuals may fail to notice the difference and swipe their cards on this skimmer. Doing so enables scammers to create a clone of such cards.

Simple ATM card cloning is not enough since fraudsters also need to collect the unique PIN for this card as well. To do this, they often hack into the CCTV cameras inside an ATM or use another similar camera placed just above the keypad of such machines. Either way, as soon as a user dials in the card PIN, these scammers can capture it, using it to withdraw money from the user’s account unlawfully.

While constant vigilance is an effective precautionary measure against such scams, one can also opt for a Wallet Care plan offered by Bajaj Finserv under Pocket Insurance & Subscriptions. Such insurance policies can reduce one’s financial liability if he/she falls victim to such unforeseen losses.

Individuals can also follow the precautionary measures listed below to ensure safety while transacting through ATM machines.

  • Check for skimmers

A skimmer is a machine attached to the card reader on the ATM machine. In most ATM fraud cases, individuals can determine whether such a machine is attached to the ATM in question. Check whether the card reader is secured in place. If it seems to be loosely fit or wobbly, avoid using such an ATM.

  • The number pad seems separated from the rest of the machine

An integral part of ATM cloning is collecting the card PIN when the user dials it in. While some scammers spy through a CCTV camera to note the code, others may attach a specialised keypad on the ATM machine. This device can collect the PIN while it is being entered, enabling fraudsters to access the same later on. Thus, if an ATM machine’s keypad seems out of order or not part of the machine itself, avoid using the same.

  • Watch out for suspicious camera placements

When protecting yourself against ATM fraud in India, ensure you always keep a close watch on suspicious camera placements in the booths. While CCTV cameras are normal, they should not be placed in such a way that they can spy on the keypad as you enter the PIN. The best course of action while transacting through ATMs is to cover the keypad with your hand while entering the code.

Individuals need to keep an eye on suspicious activities linked to their accounts. For instance, a text message alerting you of a suspicious transaction should be reported to the card issuer immediately. Besides ATM fraud, unlawful transactions can also occur online when transacting using debit and credit cards.

  • In just three months to December 2019, credit card, internet banking, and debit card fraud resulted in losses of around Rs.129 crore in India.
  • More than 21000 cases of such fraudulent transactions were registered within these three months.

A handbag assure plan can help one limit financial liabilities significantly after fraudulent activities on his/her account. Additionally, such policies can also ensure quick card blocking after the detection of unlawful withdrawals, thereby keeping one’s finances safe.

Additionally, avoid sharing card details with others, regardless of who they are. Scammers can impersonate employees from financial institutions, seeking your card information over the phone. Avoid disclosing such details at any cost. If your card details leak, the first course of action will be to file an FIR with your nearest police station.

A fraudulent charges cover can help minimise losses at such a time. Apart from assisting you in blocking the leaked card, such a plan will also help you recover any financial losses due to these unlawful transactions. Ensure that you report such instances of ATM fraud within 24 hours. Such a policy will help cover any monetary losses experienced within 7 days after the first report of such fraudulent activities.

Following these few tips while withdrawing cash from ATMs can significantly reduce the chances of falling prey to ATM frauds.


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