The Regina Police Service has received a number of complaints of debit card frauds this past week. Between March and April, this year, debit card numbers were compromised at different Regina businesses, likely by using card skimming equipment. Typically, suspects substitute the business’ PIN pad terminal with their own altered PIN pad. The altered PIN pad has the capability of recording card numbers and clients’ PIN numbers as they are keyed into the device. Beginning September 20th, debit card information, fraudulently-obtained last Spring in Regina, has been used to withdraw cash from ATM machines located in New York City. The Regina Police Service has received reports of 50 such transactions; however, it’s believed the number of victims may be higher since financial institutions may not report all such incidents to police. Most of the fraudulent cash withdrawals are in amounts from $30.00 to $800.00. The financial institutions are contacting customers whose information may have been compromised.
Here is how this type of crime occurs: the illegal skimmers obtain card numbers by reading the magnetic strip on the back of the debit card. Avoid using the swipe option on PIN pad machines if possible. It is safer using the chip option on your card, however, an altered PIN pad machine may require that you slide your card into the machine all the way, thus reading your cards magnetic strip. You should never need to slide your card into the PIN pad more than a few inches. It’s always a good idea to look closely at the PIN pad for signs of a false cover or tampering. Financial Institutions encourage customers to use the “TAP” option on credit and debit cards. You are not required to key in your PIN number when using the TAP option, therefore if your card is compromised; the suspect will not have your PIN number. One drawback to this convenience is that anyone could use the TAP function with a lost or stolen card, so debit card holders need to protect against losing the card itself. Regardless of the type of transaction, card holders should change their PIN numbers regularly. The same prevention advice applies to credit cards as well.
Members of the public are encouraged to check financial statements carefully. Any unauthorized transactions should be reported immediately to the individual’s bank or financial institution.
These incidents are still under investigation. Anyone with information that could assist police is asked to contact the Regina Police Service at 777-6500 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.