I know a few travelers have been caught out by card skimming scams. It doesn’t matter where you are, you could be done over, and it is a pain in the ass to get cards reissued when your on the road! (Not to mention the possibility of loosing money and going through the bank’s fraud department to get the money back, which can take a long time)
I’ve seen plenty of cases of this in Australia too, it doesn’t matter where you in. In fact I think that it’s more likely to happen where technology is more readily available.
The usual ATM scam usually works by capturing your magnetic strip and your pin you type in.
Making a copy of the magnetic strip is usually done by attaching a card reader to the card slot on the ATM. It is usually fixed over the molded plastic when you insert your card.The pin is usually captured with a small camera attached above the pin pad, or even a thin transparent plastic film on the pin pad which can capture the keys you press
The thief usually has to come back to the ATM and retrieve the captured information from the skimming hardware on the ATM, but more sophisticated criminals can use a system that has Bluetooth or similar and they can sit close by with a laptop and capture the information without having to return. Sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee, skimming cards – too easy hey?
You can reduce the risk of getting done over by: Checking the area around the card slot for anything unusual. Good card skimmers will target a particular brand or type of ATM and the scammer’s card reader will be molded and branded to suit. You could give the plastic around the card slot a shake to see if anything looks loose – or doesn’t seem right. Check the pin pad in case it’s covered by the film.
When entering your pin – use your spare hand to cover up your key presses. They usually use a camera so this will help in avoiding having your pin stolen.
If you travel with some friends – avoid using the same ATM as each other – if one person gets scammed, you can always borrow from the other.