Bicol top cop gives tips to avoid being victimized by ATM, credit card scammers

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Dec. 3 (PNA) — The Philippine National Police Bicol regional office headed by Police Chief Supt. Augusto M. Marquez Jr., acting regional director, has urged the Bicolanos to be more cautious in using their personal ATM and credit cards, especially this Yuletide season, in order for them not to be victims of scams.

“The technology now often used in different operandi by local and foreign syndicates easily steal and withdraw thousands of money using counterfeit bank cards and the least thing we can do is be alert and be vigilant,” Marquez said.

He cited the following types of ATM scams and some common tips on how to avoid these:

Skimmer — This scam involves a device that is installed into an ATM that can read one’s account information, including account number, PIN and balance.

Usually, Marquez said, these skimmers can hold up to 200 accounts worth of information at a time.

Shoulder Surfing — This low-tech scam involves observation techniques or some crafty tactics.

Some thieves install a fake keypad on top of a real one to record account information and pin numbers.

To capture more usable data to access someone’s account, they will also install a camera to record all other information – like your card number, the Bicol police official said.

Cash Trapping — A crook installs something to block the cash from dispensing out of an ATM machine.

A customer will then go inside the bank for help and will return to find the cash stolen by a thief, he added.

Phishing — An oldie but goodie that has had a resurgence this year with millions of lost email addresses.

“Phishing for your bank information occurs when a scammer sends an e-mail to a customer pretending to be a bank representative requesting you to update account information. The thief then uses this information to replicate an ATM card or withdraw money from a customer account via online banking,” Marquez said.

He enumerated the steps that one can always take to get away from these types of scam.

First, he said, the card holder should cover his password with his hand.

“A hidden camera is disguised so they can pick up your password, so better cover your password every time you withdraw or use an ATM,” Marquez said.

He urged the use familiar ATMs and limit one’s visits.

“ATMs in dimly lighted spots or used late at night could be more susceptible to fraud, while ATMs under video surveillance can be safer. Also, try to limit your visits because frequency is more risky,” he said.

The Bicol top cop advised ATM owners to check bank balances frequently or sign up for alerts and unusual withdrawals.

“Observe the ATM and be aware of your surrounding when using an ATM for security,” he said.

Marquez encouraged the Bicolanos to be vigilant, be calm and report any unscrupulous activities and other relevant and timely information to any nearest police stations or through social media (Twitter: @PRO5React, FB: Kasurog Bicol, or Dial 117 or text 2920 or CRMS hotline 09173097862). (PNA)