Use ATMs regularly for frequent cash withdrawals? Beware! You might fall prey to a card skimming scam that is doing the rounds of Mauritius.

Bank of Mauritius (BOM) has drawn the public’s attention to the circulation of skimmed/cloned cards on the island in a recent communiqué.

The central bank has warned the public that fraudsters are trying to use these fake cards on ATMs to access genuine cardholders’ accounts illegally.

Card skimming is the illegal copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit or ATM card. Stealing of information takes place during a legitimate transaction through a ‘wedge’ or skimming device which copies all information contained on the magnetic strip.

Once the information is recorded, the scammer can create a fake or ‘cloned’ card with the same details as the original card that has been skimmed. The fraudster then attempts to use the fake card at ATMs to run up charges on the cardholder’s account, accessed illegally.

BOM has alerted the public to be careful when using credit or debit cards to effect transactions on ATMs, and even when making payments on the Internet as well as at point of sale (POS) terminals in stores.

The communiqué enumerates several steps to be taken to avoid falling victim to skimming. First of all, regularly check your bank and credit card statements and if suspicious transactions are found, report the matter to the bank. Secondly, in case you lose your card, notify your bank promptly. Thirdly, before using an ATM, make sure that it is not interfered and run an eye over the ATM for any obvious skimming devices.

The central bank also recommends you keep your credit card and ATM card in a safe place, abstain from revealing your personal identity number (PIN) to anyone and avoid keeping a written copy of the PIN with your card.

Finally, the act of entering the PIN must not be performed in the presence of a stranger, and, when giving the merchant your bank card for effecting payments, make sure you keep the card in sight at all times.

This communiqué follows a recent public warning from the central bank to ignore swift messages under BOM’s logo and seal, which alert individuals of a pending credit of a huge sum to their account and request for their bank account details.


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