Don’t fall victim to card cloning in the chaos of Black Friday

Fraudsters will use card-cloning or card skimming to gain access to the information and funds of consumers. Picture: Freepik

Fraudsters will use card-cloning or card skimming to gain access to the information and funds of consumers. Picture: Freepik

Published Nov 24, 2023


Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days, as consumers find themselves visiting malls and going online to try to get the best deals.

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 AFRICA said that when people are shopping at speed to catch the best Black November deals, they are distracted, which makes it easy for them to fall victim to card-cloning because they don’t see a skimming device and just tap their cards.

Understanding card-cloning

Card-cloning or card skimming, is a technique that fraudsters use to gain access to the credit or debit card information of consumers.

Fraudsters clone the cards of consumers by attaching skimming devices to ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, or hand-held skimmers to secretly capture the card's sensitive details during legitimate transactions.

According to Collard, fraudsters may attempt to skim or clone your bank card to gain access to your funds.

“Skimming happens when they use sneaky devices on real payment terminals to steal your card information. Cloning involves making fake cards with all your card details,” Collard said.

Nolwazi Nzama, Deputy Chief Risk Officer at African Bank, shares protective measures consumers can take to safeguard themselves against card-cloning.

Be vigilant

Before using an ATM or card machine, inspect the card reader and keypad for any suspicious attachments or loose parts. If you see something that has been tampered with or looks suspicious, do not use the machine. Instead, report the situation immediately to the bank or store management.

Cover your PIN

Always use your hand or body to shield the ATM or card machine keypad before entering your PIN.

Use contactless payment

Make use of contactless payment methods, such as mobile payment apps, whenever possible because they create a unique transaction code for each purchase. This makes it even more difficult for fraudsters to clone your card.

Monitor your accounts

Check your bank statements and transaction history on a regular basis for unfamiliar or unauthorised transactions. If you notice any unusual transactions, contact your bank to block your card and ask them to investigate the issue.

Enable bank transaction alerts

Make sure that the real-time transaction alerts that your bank offers are turned on so you receive instant notifications whenever a transaction is made with your card. These notifications allow you to quickly respond to any unauthorised activity.

Keep card information secure

Never share your card details, PIN, or other sensitive information over the phone, email, or text message. Consumers need to remember that legitimate institutions will never ask for their banking details or personal information through these channels.

Secure online transactions

When you are shopping online, only use trusted and secure websites. Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and "https" in the URL, which indicate a secure connection.

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