The use of debit cards in Zimbabwe has been gradually increasing over the years, spurred on by our cash crisis. One of the advantaged of migrating to a cashless society is that we are less vulnerable to having our hard cash stolen from us. Unfortunately, new technologies come with new risks. I think it may be necessary to talk about some of the risks that we face as cards become more common.
I’ve noticed something with an alarming regularity at queues: People swipe and enter their pins in an unconcerned manner. Maybe this is because people think card skimming is not a big deal yet in Zimbabwe but word from ZRP paints an entirely different picture. From the beginning of the year until the 15th of March customers have lost over $200 000 in debit card cloning. With that in mind, here are some of the other techniques you should be on the lookout for and what you can do to stay safe.
This cybercrime involves criminals posing as legitimates institutions in order to try and trick consumers into giving them sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. Usually, the criminals use email to hoodwink unsuspecting customers but sometimes they can even resort to telephones.
If an email comes from your bank and asks for your personal details, DO NOT respond. No bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details via email.
Always ensure that you are on a secure site before using or disclosing your personal information. How do you know the site is secure? Well if you check the URL, you will notice that secure sites start with https ((yes, like Techzim’s URL) or at least there is a lock icon before the URL.
Avoid internet banking in public areas such as restaurants, cafes and kombis. You never know who’s trying to get a glimpse of what you are doing and how they will use information such as bank details if they come across it.
You should also frequently change your passwords and set a sensible transaction limit on your accounts. In the event that your details have been stolen if there’s a sensible limit whoever stole your card will not run amok with your finances.
In this instance, the criminals target ATM users. They use a variety of different methods to try and distract or manipulate you whilst on the ATM. A common trick in South Africa is to change the language on an ATM so unsuspecting customers may ask for help. Another technique is shoulder surfing – standing very close to someone – so they actually see you whilst you enter your banking details.
Be cautious of strangers requesting you to return to the ATM to finalise a transaction because they are unable to transact. They may collect your details during the process
Report suspicious people or objects you see close to the ATM. Usually, fraudsters are often well dressed and charismatic character that you would not expect to take advantage of you. Remember, don’t judge a book by its cover
If you suspect that the ATM you are using is faulty, cancel the transaction and inform your bank. Also, choose ATM’s that you are familiar with and are in open and well-lit areas.
This form of card skimming takes place at retail merchants through use of POS (Point of sale) machines. The skimmers work hand in hand with staff in a shop and give them a handheld skimming device which can copy the details of the card via the magnetic strip.
Make sure that your card never leaves your sight. In most shops, you will have noticed they have portable POS machines so there is rarely any reason for your card to leave your presence. If a worker insists on going with the card elsewhere be sure to accompany them. Another reason why your card should not leave your sight is that it may be swapped for another card after you have paid for whatever it is you wanted.
When all is said and done, just treat your card with the same vigilance you would your wallet with hard cash and you will be less prone to the schemes being used in the cashless age we seem to be slowly but surely entering.
Establish trust and be very careful...
It is time...
Trippy as hell...