Card Fraud

Card fraud is more common than you’d expect. Criminals are dead set on stealing payment cards, either to obtain goods without paying for them, or to steal personal data. BNF Bank wants you to stay alert and be aware of your environment when using an ATM, by looking out for card swapping and card skimming tactics. You should always only use secure websites when shopping online.

Always be alert and on the lookout when using your card. Criminals are forever looking at different ways of stealing your money, so don’t under estimate how devious they can be. Here are a few examples of how fraudsters skim your card:

  • Skimming devices: criminals use a skimming device to make a copy and clone your card information. This device is attached to the card reader of an ATM or point-of-sale (POS) device. The criminal installs a small PIN PAD which looks a lot like the ATM or POS PIN PAD, only it is a false one. When you use the false PIN PAD, your PIN is recorded and later used to withdraw money from your account.
  • Distraction and confusion tactics: A couple of criminals can team and work together to target you and steal your information. They will ensure your card gets stuck in the ATM by installing a trapping device at the card slot. They will then offer you assistance in freeing your card. While you are distracted, one makes a copy of your card while the other asks you to enter your PIN, in a pretend attempt to retrieve your card stuck in the ATM. By now, they have stolen your card information. Don’t be fooled and don’t accept any assistance at an ATM, unless it’s inside a Bank branch and bank officials are the ones offering to help. 
  • Giving your card over to someone to process your payment: At a restaurant or shop, an employee would offer to wipe your card clean behind the counter because the POS terminal is not reading it, tricking you into thinking that your card is dirty and cannot be read by the POS. They use this tactic to skim your card and steal your information, and if another criminal is looking over your shoulder for your PIN entry, they will later use your information and cloned card to withdraw money from your account.
  • When shopping on the internet or via telephone mail order: Card fraud happens when you provide your card information on the phone or on a website that is not secure. Disclosing your card number, expiry date, CVV number (at the back of your card) and name, is enough for criminals to fraudulently use your card manually over the internet.

Tips to prevent card fraud at home and abroad

Here are our best tips for card users who would like to stay one step ahead of potential attacks:

  • if you think an ATM has retained your card, or someone may have seen your PIN, call BNF Bank on +356 2260 1000 or +356 2260 1500 and block your card immediately. Never accept assistance from anyone hovering around the ATM;
  • always make sure you still have your original card after each withdrawal or POS transaction;
  • avoid ATMs located in dark places or surrounded by too many people. Never let your children use the ATM on your behalf, as they are the most vulnerable prey for criminals;
  • always sign the signature panel on the back of the card. Criminals will try and forge your signature. If there is no signature at the back of the card, it makes the forging much easier;
  • when shopping online, only use secure sites and never quote your card number and expiry date in an email. Similarly, never give out your card number and expiry date on a chat;
  • when shopping telephonically, be absolutely certain that the merchant is legitimate. When making mail orders over the phone, ensure you are speaking to the correct company and person. Overall, always avoid giving your card details over the phone;
  • subscribe to BNF Bank 3D Secure SMS authentication service, to increase online shopping security;
  • shred your bank statements and any other financial information you receive physically from the Bank, and don’t give criminals the chance to steal your information from your personal filing;
  • never let your card out of your sight, whether at a restaurant, a petrol station, or a shop. Your card and card information are the access key to your wallet; and
  • if you are travelling with your card, contact BNF Bank Customer Care +356 2260 1000 and let us know of your travels in advance. Give us an alternative contact number so that we can call you in case of suspicious transactions while abroad.

Remember: No transactions can be made with your BNF card without your PIN. You should never compromise your PIN. It is your responsibility to protect it and to ensure that no one sees it whenever you make a transaction.

The content in this article is provided solely to create customer awareness. It does not constitute legal advice.


Malta Stock Exchange
©2019 - BNF Bank plc - All Rights Reserved
BNF Bank plc is a credit institution licensed by the MFSA to undertake
the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act 1994.