A Bulawayo man is counting his losses after he lost about $20 million from his bank account to alleged scammers who cloned his bank card.
Although Bulawayo province spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube was not available for comment at the time of going to Press, sources in the police said the victim’s bank card was cloned by scammers and used to make various purchases across the country over three days.
The sources revealed that the victim lost $20 million to the scammers while another person lost $150 000. “We are currently investigating several cases of card cloning fraud and we have victims who have lost between $150 000 and $20 million to this sort of crime,” revealed the source.
The officer said the $20 million victim, they believe his card was cloned at a local supermarket and they are investigating the possibility that it was an inside job.
“We suspect that the victim’s card was cloned at a leading supermarket in the city and we are looking at the possibility that it was an inside job. We think one of the tellers used a secondary point of sale machine to clone the card,” said the source.
Police also revealed that the victim who lost $150 000 could have got his card cloned in a supermarket as well. The second victim’s money was stolen in 47 minutes from several transactions at another local supermarket. The victims noticed that money had been withdrawn in installments in transactions across several retail outlets. Sunday News understand such cases are on the increase.
Police believe that the scammers get access to the cards through retail outlet employees who use secondary point of sale machines to “grab” information from a victim’s bank card through its magnetic strip. The police also suspect that such employees also get sight of victims’ pin numbers which they then share with their accomplices.
Bank card cloning refers to creating a fraudulent copy of a bank card. It happens when a crook steals one’s bank card information, then uses the information to create a fake card.
There are two major steps in bank card cloning: obtaining bank card information, then creating a fake card that can be used for purchases. Thieves steal a victim’s bank card data: the victim’s name, along with the bank card number and expiration date. Often, thieves use skimming or shimming to obtain this information.
Skimming frequently happens at retail outlets using point of sale machines. But it also can occur when one hands over the card for payment, especially if it leaves one’s sight. For instance, a shady till operator skims one’s bank card data with a point-of-sale device.
In a typical skimming scam, a crook attaches a device to a card reader and electronically copies, or skims, data from the magnetic strip on the back of a bank card. Similarly, shimming steals information from chip-enabled credit cards.