The Sunday Mail
Police have warned the public to guard their debit cards against cloning, which has increased in the past year with victims losing nearly US$200 000 in the last three months alone.
Between January and February, about US$147 000 was stolen through debit/credit card fraud while nearly $40 000 has been stolen this month.
Card cloning involves production of counterfeit debit cards after fraudulent acquisition of user information.
Credit cards are cloned using a system called skimming.
A skimming device is attached or inserted into point-of-sale or automated teller machines and copies information from the magnetic strips of credit cards when people put their cards in.
The scammers watch as their victims input their PINs.
Armed with the PIN and skimmed details, the information can be used for online transactions or creating similar debit and/or credit cards.
Last week, ZRP Acting Senior Staff Officer (Press and Public Relations) Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said, “During the 15 days of March 2018, CID Commercial Crime Division has taken over 11 such cases and, the same number for the cumulative period of the first two months of the year.
“This is indicative of how the figures have soared into double figures during the month of March only.
During January and February 2018, about $147 577 was lost through card cloning while $39 666 has been lost since the beginning of March.
“Some card cloning arrests have been made and some cases have been finalised while others are still pending.”
Chief Supt Nyathi said growth of cashless transacting had resulted in an increase in cloning.
“The prevalence of cyber criminality on the transacting arena has remained thorny.’’
He said PoS machines were prime targets for card cloning.
“Card holders should keep a sharp eye as their credit/debit card transactions are being processed at the PoS Machines. They should ensure that their cards are not taken out of their sight.
“Any change in the use of PoS machine must be done in the presence of the card holder and the pin must not be exposed to anyone.”
Chief Supt Nyathi said there appeared to be collusion between cyber criminals and cashiers in shops, liquor outlets and casinos,” he said.
“This gives them room to clone the debit/credit cards at their own will. As a preventive measure, card holders must make use of electronic banking systems which are provided by banks.
“The use of such electronic banking systems like instant messaging platforms will assist in prompt detection of any cyber intrusion and allow the card holder to inform the bank to block the credit card as a way to mitigate any financial damage.
“Monitoring or reconciling bank statements must be done regularly to check for any unauthorised payments which were effected from the victim’s account.”
He urged banks to improve security of clients’ money.
World over, banks which have complied with the Europay, MasterCard and Visa standards have drastically reduced card cloning incidents.
This is due to the provision of an extra layer of security on cards.
Efforts to get a comment from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe were futile last week.
IT specialist and lecturer at Walter Sisulu University in South Africa, Mr Simbarashe Nyika, said there were various measures to guard against card cloning.
“I think artificial intelligence, machine learning, face recognition, neural networks could be used in future to deter criminals from using information that does not belong to them,” he said.
“Machines like ATMs could be trained to report modifications on their architecture or shutdown, or to recognise criminal activities and report them immediately using machine learning.
‘‘This technology has already been tested on mobile phones and proved to be useful.”
- Ensure your credit/debit card is well secured
- Check for any tampering with ATMs
- Never give your credit/debit card to someone you don’t know/trust
- Never reveal your PIN to anyone
- Lookout for suspicious movements when transacting
- Never allow anyone close to you when transacting. Get assistance from security
- Activate SMS alerts with your bank to detect any transactions on your account
- Take not of change of PoS machines when transacting