Take extra care of your debit cards, ABA chief urges

Debit card users need to be extra vigilant, as a number of "skimming" cases have been reported in recent weeks.

This is the term given to criminals who use sophisticated devices to copy the information stored on the magnetic strip on the back of your card.

Two skimming devices have been seized at Brisbane ATMs recently and the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) has urged people to keep their wits about them.

Anybody who has already fallen foul of the crime have been reassured that any unauthorised transactions made by thieves will be refunded once it is clear that the person's details have been stolen.

"When skimming is suspected, banks will conduct an investigation and funds are restored to customers – the innocent victims of this crime. In other words, the bank wears the loss," commented ABA chief executive Steven Munchenberg.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure and there are numerous steps people can take to protect their debit cards.

The ABA urged anybody who sees any unusual activity at a cashpoint to report it to the bank immediately.

It is also wise to shield your PIN code as you withdraw money or make a purchase via a point-of-sale terminal.

The ABA stressed how important it is for people to check their statements, as it is quite easy to miss unlawful transactions if they are very small.

Crucially, you should never allow your card to leave your sight.

If you are in a restaurant, make sure the waiter brings the Chip and PIN machine to you and don't let them take your card away.

Aussies also need to be on guard when using online shopping services.

McAfee – the world's largest technology security company – recently suggested that a number of scams are currently doing the rounds, with unscrupulous criminals targeting people via email and bogus websites/apps.

Only enter your card details on respected sites that have adequate security and make sure you ignore any emails that look a bit fishy.

Essentially, a little bit of common sense goes a long way and Aussies should not be too trusting of people they do not know.

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