01 April 2010

BSP's Warning on ATM Scams

Pinoy ATMers
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has noted the growing number of reported crimes by unscrupulous people victimizing unsuspecting ATM cardholders through 'ATM Switching' and 'Shoulder Surfing'.

Their modus operandi is like this: The suspect will approach the cardholder after the latter completes his or her ATM transaction, and tell the victim that there is money (such as a PhP 500-bill) still stacked in the machine.

After that, the suspect will ask the victim to make a balance inquiry of his or her account. The suspect will then stealthily observe the PIN numbers that the cardholder keys into the cash machine, then drop a bill, claiming it came out of the ATM.

"While the cardholder is busy picking up the money, the suspect would remove the ATM card from the machine and switch it with another card," the BSP explains.

Another modus operandi is what BSP calls, 'shoulder surfing,' wherein the suspect stands close enough to the victim so he could see the cardholder's PIN number when he or she does the bank transaction.

The BSP offered the following tips to prevent being victimized by the gang:
  • When using an ATM, shield the keypad. If you feel someone is standing too close, "don’t be afraid to tell the next person who is in line to step back." Or, allow the other person to go in first and complete his or her transaction first.
  • Always inspect the ATM you are using, as card reader devices can be spotted. If some parts around the slot for inserting the card do not seem right, consider walking away and using another ATM.
  • Never share your PIN with another person, not even with family or friends, and absolutely never with a stranger.
  • Choose a PIN that is easy to remember but not based on a birthday, anniversary, address or telephone number.
  • Change your PIN regularly.
  • Do not use the same PIN on all your cards. While doing so may be easier for you to remember your PIN, it makes it easier for a thief to access all your accounts if your wallet is stolen.
  • Memorize your PIN, never write it down or keep it in your wallet.
  • Report captured cards immediately. As much as possible, do not leave the machine without reporting the card capture first. Immediately call the bank where the card was captured using a cell phone or the phone provided by the bank in the ATM booth.
For further inquiries, call the BSP's Financial Consumer Affairs Group at consumeraffairs@bsp.gov.ph, or (632) 5233631, or (632) 5247011 local 2584.