100_1689 Originally uploaded by Boonerator

The Winnipeg Free Press reports a Winnipeg couple noticing an unauthorized debit of $400 from their bank account. They suspect that a shop at St. Boniface was where their information was stolen then sold to an outside province.

Debit Scams are hitting the city really hard and the best way to protect yourself from falling a victim to these scams is to have knowledge on how they work.

Hit read more to find out how these scams work, and how to protect yourself from them.

There are various ways to perform this scam, here are just a few of them. They can be done on either DEBIT cards or CREDIT cards but the main GOAL of the scam is to get your CARD INFORMATION – this is done by using CARD READERS. A scammer can’t do much with your DEBIT card information without your PIN number – so for debit scams, CAMERAS are usually used to capture your pin number.

An ‘adapter’ is inserted into a ATM machine. The adapter goes on top of the slot where you insert your card and usually looks like its part of the machine. Upon inserting your card, your card runs through the adapter – then into the bank machine and you are none-the-wiser of the adapter recording your information. Well placed cameras around the ATM machine then record your PIN number. At the end of the day, the scammer matches the timestamps on the recorded card numbers with the video tape of the pin numbers.

A cashier is ‘in’ on the scam. He/She will have a separate device that will capture your card information when it is swiped on it. Your card is swiped TWICE, one into the ‘scam device’ and then another time to the REAL debit/credit machine to complete your transaction. If its a credit scam, they already have everything they need, if its a debit scam, then they will have a well placed camera to capture your pin number.

This scam is one of the hardest scams to detect. It is when the scammer actually replaces the WHOLE pinpad device at a store while they are not watching. This pinpad device acts just like a ‘normal’ pinpad device would, except it has a MEMORY CARD in the device that stores CARD INFORMATIION AND PIN NUMBERS! No need for any cameras to record the pin number as the pin is entered RIGHT ON THE DEVICE. Many stores are now SCREWING DOWN their pinpads on to the table, but there are still a few that don’t and they are most likely the ones who are most vulnerable to these scams. All a scammer needs to do is wait till a cashier is not looking and swap the pinpad with their ‘modified’ pinpad. Come back a week later and reswap the pads and his memory card will now have EVERY CARD NUMBER and PIN NUMBER that happened that week!

There are various things you can do to protect yourself.
There are some stores without integrated debit software that will have to swipe your card twice, but it does not hurt to question it and ask why your card is being swiped TWICE for one purchase. There are many laws coming into place that will require all merchants to only swipe your card ONCE.
2. HIDE HIDE HIDE your pin number!!
When entering your pin number, use the hand above hand method. A scammer can not do much damange withour your pin number (though damage can still be done).
Know your atm machines, and if you see a weird device on it that does not look familiar, do not use it and report it to authorities.