Written by – Ranuli at OmeBiz
Just last week Sri Lanka was hit by a fraudulent monetary scam that was carried through ATM machines across the country’s state and private banks. It was revealed that the scam was carried out through card skimmers installed in ATM’s. ATM skimming is when criminals place a device on the face of an ATM, which appears to be a part of the machine. It’s almost impossible for civilians to know the difference unless they have an eye for security, or the skimmer is of poor quality.
Investigations carried out by the CID revealed that the fraud was done in a well-planned manner by a structured group inclusive of foreigners.
The exact banks and ATMs affected were:
- Amana Bank
- National Development Bank
- Nations Trust Bank – Union Place and Kalubowila ATMs
- Sampath Bank – BRC Grounds and Mirissa Offsite ATMs
- Commercial Bank – United Motors and BRC ATMs
- National Savings Bank – Colombo Municipal Council ATM
The banks haven’t issued a statement denying being affected by the scam. However, Commercial bank, Amana Bank and NTB Bank said they have resolved the issue.
How to Protect Yourself for these Scams:
- Inspect the ATM
This involves checking and inspect each ATM that you use, even the card sliders at stores and counters. Look for the colour and style of the machine, if the scanner doesn’t match it might be a skimmer. Shake the card scanner to see if it feels like there’s something attached to the card reader on the ATM.
- Cover the keypad when entering your PIN
Cover the keypad, to prevent cameras and onlookers from seeing your PIN. This is important as scammers may sometimes install mini-cameras at the ATM to capture PIN numbers.
- Check your bank and credit card statements often
If someone does get your information, you have 60 days to report any fraudulent charges to your credit card company in order not to be charged. For a debit card, you only have about 2 days to report any suspicious activity.
- Be picky
ATM scams are more likely to take place at ATMs that see little traffic or aren’t under constant supervision such as those along the roads or at restaurants. These are not usually monitored and therefore, can be easily tampered with by anyone.