Here's something to add to the struggling American cardholders' problems: cloned credit cards.
According to investigators and the U.S. Social Service, criminals are becoming more tech-savvy with their operations. Recent reports of missing money from ATM accounts have prompted experts to investigate. What discovered surprised even seasoned investigators.
Local police officials say that scam artists and defrauders are making use of hi-tech devices to "copy" entire cards and replicate them. Using a wide range of devices that skim over ATM cards and copy card numbers, criminals are amassing thousands of dollars from each victim.
More daring scammers are using cameras to record the PIN of their victims. Investigators say that the cameras are too small to even notice. Most of the devices are hidden in secret compartments that resemble the ATM machines' regular parts. Unsuspecting victims usually discover about the crime when they see unauthorized charges or withdrawals made using their card.
Tiffany Varela, one of many victims, says that even though she felt she was careful, thieves still managed to copy her card and withdraw some $1000 from her bank account. She adds that the ATM machine which had the secret devices looked like an ordinary machine.
To avoid becoming victims themselves, industry expert Tanisha Warner advises Americans not to use ATM stations located in areas with few people or vehicles. Criminals often look for machines that are out of the way and some distance away from busy roads or walkways. It would also help if people withdraw cash from ATMs that are in well-lit areas.
Experts also pointed out that cardholders should be suspicious of any unusual operations with the ATM. Looking back, Varela says that she did notice that it took a long time for the machine to return her card. According to crime investigators, this and other unusual operations of ATMs should rouse suspicion.
Cardholders are also advised not to withdraw cash using their credit cards at night. With fewer pedestrians and vehicles around, the chances for credit card fraud or even violent crimes, increases dramatically.
Specialists add that if cardholders feel that they have become victims of credit card fraud, they should immediately contact their card companies. Failing to do so can have negative repercussions on their credit histories and scores. Consumers should also request copies of their credit reports every occasionally to monitor their credit ratings. Oftentimes, fraud or unauthorized purchases are first detected in credit reports.