We all know that it is incredibly important to keep your bank accounts and banking details secure, as well as other personal information such as your Tax File Number. In this technological age there are more ways for you to access your accounts and do your banking. As a result this unfortunately means that there are also now more ways for other people to gain unauthorised access to your account. This can include everything from sending hoax letters, emails or text messages to ATM or card skimming. These methods easily allow perpetrators to gain your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password (in the case of online banking and telephone banking).

ATM Skimming is a relatively new method of fraudulently acquiring consumers personal banking details. Skimming is defined as the illegal copying of information stored on the magnetic strip of your debit or credit card. This information can be stolen via EFTPOS terminals and ATM’s. There are a number of warning signs that you should be aware that may indicate that card skimming is occurring. Take note of the following activities and always keep your eye out for these types of things when using your debit or credit card. Things to look out for include:

  • A shop assistant takes your card out of your sight in order to process your transaction.
  • You are asked to swipe your card through more than one EFTPOS machine.
  • You see a shop assistant swipe the card through a different machine to the one you used.
  • You notice something suspicious about the card slot on an ATM (e.g. an attached device).
  • You notice unusual or unauthorised transactions on your account or credit card statement.If any of the above happen to you it is possible that you may have been a victim of skimming and you should immediately contact your financial institution.

Hoax emails and letters are also causing a wide range of security issues. Should you receive an email asking for confirmation of you PIN, password or username, do not reply. This is more than likely a scam. Your bank should never email you requesting you to confirm personal details. The best option if you are in this situation is to forward the hoax email to your bank. This helps the bank keep track of new emails being used to catch personal information.

It is important to be aware that it is not just banks that are used as scapegoats for this type of crime. The ATO is also regularly used as a guise to illegally gather personal information. The ATO is currently warning against an email that is being circulated offering taxpayers a 30% discount on their taxes. The email prompts the recipient to click on a link and provide their tax file number to be eligible for the concession. Obviously this it fraudulent. In situations such as this the old adage rings true, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

There are a few things that you should do to protect your personal information and ensure that your personal details are kept secure:

  • Try to memorize your PIN and never keep your PIN with your card. This also applies to your internet banking account. Aim to memorize the login details to prevent them from being copied.
  • As obvious as this may be, do NOT give your PIN/password to anyone. Your bank or credit union will NEVER call you to verify your PIN by telephone, fax or email. Ignore these requests and report them to your financial institution.
  • Never click on links provided in emails to go to your institution, the ATO or other organizations page. These links will usually take you to a fraudulent page or site made to look like the real site.
  • Always ensure that your card is kept in clear sight when any transaction is being processed.
  • Check the ATM for any abnormalities/inconsistencies before you put your card in the reader, and be sure to check that no one is watching you enter your PIN.
  • In the case of renewal cards, if you are expecting a new card and it has not arrived in a reasonable time, contact your bank or credit union.
  • When you have received a new card immediately sign and activate the new card and destroy the old one.

If you suspect that you may have unfortunately fallen victim to card skimming, or hoax bank correspondence contact us on 1300 QUINNS or click here to submit an online enquiry. Additionally, please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on how to better protect yourself from becoming a victim of card skimming or hoax bank contact. We can help you to ensure that you have the correct procedures in place to protect you and your family’s hard earned money.