Bank card fraud on the rise

Zimbabwean banks have put their customers on fraud alert following an increase in cases of card cloning. This follows the increased use of electronic transactions in the country. Approximately 96 percent of all transactions are going through electronic platforms.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, of the 371 million transactions carried out in the first quarter of 2018, 368 million were POS and mobile payment transactions. While the shift to a cashless society might have mitigated the impact of cash shortages, it has also resulted in an increase in card cloning. Last week, Nedbank Zimbabwe issued a notice warning its customers about the increased risk of transactions involving credit cards.

“In recent months, we have seen a number of incidence where clients’ cards have been skimmed at various outlets.

“In an effort to curb the increase of card fraud, Nedbank Zimbabwe would like to shed light on how we can prevent these unfortunate incidences from occurring,” said Nedbank Zimbabwe. The most common methods are when cashiers ‘clean’ your card on their clothing, swipe your card on a point-of-sale (POS) device under the counter, or when they advise that the POS device is not working and take your card to another POS device that you can’t see. Your card is then swiped through a magnetic strip card reader and the encoded information on the magnetic strip is copied and your card is replicated in seconds. To get your PIN, another fraudster watches you as you enter it on the POS device.

“Remember: It’s your responsibility to protect and never reveal your PIN. Make sure that nobody is looking when you enter your PIN at an ATM or POS device.”

Several other Zimbabwean banks have also issued security tips against bank card fraud. According to local experts at TechZim, magnetic stripe cards are considered less secure than chip cards.

“Chip cards offer much better fraud protection than the (now) antiquated magnetic stripe cards simply because magnetic stripe cards use technology that can be easily breached by fraudsters.

“Magnetic-stripe cards are magnetised. When you swipe them, the payment processor reads their magnetic fields and matches them to your bank account information. The problem with this is that the data is static, making it easier for fraudsters to lift your information and clone it onto a new card. In fact, there is a device called a skimmer, which they can get or make for as little as $20 that can clone a card pretty easily,” said TechZim on its website.

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