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Archive for August 17th, 2006

Bastard bank card scammers

August 17, 2006 @ 21:59 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

I couldn’t find my cheque book this morning, so at lunch I popped into the bank branch in the lobby of my building at work to have them code a temporary cheque for me so I could pay for my dentist appointment later in the afternoon. I gave the teller my account number, which she punched into her computer. Reading some popup on the screen, she said “hm” and then “if you’ll take a seat over here, someone will be out to talk to you momentarily”.

“Uh oh,” thought I, “this doesn’t sound good at all.” I sat down.

Shortly, someone else came out and asked me to step into her office.

In her office, she told me that there were several recent transactions on my chequing account that were “suspicious” and would I mind answering some questions. After reviewing the transactions in question, it became clear that my bank card had been cloned and someone had basically drained as much money out of my account.

I highlighted all of the fraudulent transactions and started filling out the necessary paperwork.

At the end of an hour or so, I had a shiny new bank card, an empty bank account, copies of the paperwork and a new loathing for the scumbags who cloned my bank card.

From the bank, I headed to the dentist to have a small chip filled, which fortunately was uneventful and didn’t even require freezing. Once home, I called the police to report the bank card fraud.

So, where did it happen? Well, I have two suspicions: one being a convenience store and the other being a computer store. It doesn’t take long to swipe a card through a second reader, particularly if the debit card machine is below the counter top. I’ve even heard that some debit card cloners have little readers hooked on their belts that they can quickly and discretely pass a bank card through. Getting the PIN number was likely accomplished by either a hidden video camera or a shoulder surfer. Creating a fake bank card is fairly simple once you have that information.

Oh well. At least I should get the money back after the bank’s finished their initial investigation.

Debit card fraud was a huge problem in the UK, so large that they were forced to implement new technology. Gone are magnetic stripes. In their place is a system called “chip-and-pin”. Basically, when you go to make a purchase, you insert a smart card in a reader and enter your pin. The chip in the card can’t be copied. The result is that within a couple of months debit card fraud dropped by 90%.

Hopefully, we’ll get something like this in Canada in the near future.

And, hopefully the bastards will get what’s coming to them. Soon.