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ATM and credit debit card advice

I am sure most of you are aware of this but thought would share anyway.
Eastern European gangs operating all over Europe put whats called a skimming device onto an ATM machine where the card insert is this is used to copy your card details. always check that the card insert is solidly attached to the console a small wiggle will be enough, if you think something has been added to the machine go inside the bank to inform a staff member and do not use. Along with this some of the gangs put mobile devices such as a mobile phone or ipod camera attached to the top of the machine to film your pin when typing. Again it takes just a few seconds to glance at the machine and check for any extra devices that should not be there.

Recently pictures surfaced of people on the Underground in London with a contactless card reader waving it over peoples pockets thus taking money from their cards without them knowing, you can buy a card protector for small change which blocks any signal to and from your contactless card.

Stay Safe and be aware but don't let this put you off just simple precautions to make your trip pass off without any hiccups

Posted by
2022 posts

Card skimmers have been all over the US for some time. Card safety is card safety, being in Europe does not raise the risk that has always been there.

Posted by
440 posts

Hi Larry thanks for the reply

I didn't say being in Europe raises the risk I just wanted to inform and make people aware of these things.

Posted by
961 posts

As Larry said you should always be aware of skimmers at ANY ATM in anytown USA. The skimmer can be there for a few hours up to days! Use the same vigilance abroad as you would use at home. But also rest assured in the US, you are not liable for any charges and withdrawals you did not authorize, you will get your money back. This is why I take two to three credits card, only plan on using one and the others are backups in case of card compromise or a bank block. People can possibly take money from your card if you have a "tap-to-pay" card, which I don't so no worries of someone with a RFID reader.

Thanks for the reminder!

Posted by
440 posts

Letizia good advice on the 3 cards there is nothing worse than being unable to withdraw money due to a bank issue this happened to myself a few years ago in Cornwall luckyily one of my friends lent me some cash till my bank had sorted the issue , I take enough cash with me for getting from airport/trainstation to hotel and small snacks and drinks along the way then withdraw cash for a few days usually about€300 for two days and use cards for large purchases

Posted by
1005 posts

While skimmers can be anywhere, criminals usually don't put them on ATMs at banks because banks are under surveillance. I try to make a withdrawal at a bank ATM during business hours so that if anything goes wrong, there is someone on site who can help.

Posted by
440 posts

Yes most defiantely also some ATMs not at banks charge a fee for using the machine before bank charges currecny exchange etc

Posted by
961 posts

T- I work at a bank and we have found multiple skimmers on ATM machines that are attached to our branch, so don't let that lull you into a sense of security. We have great pictures of the criminals placing the device on the machine and coming back for it a few hours later. I do love the banks that have the ATMs in the actual lobbies, much more secure and I always try to use those before an outside one. BUT I do make it a point to use a machine attached to a bank and not free standing.

Posted by
17642 posts

In Germany, I have seen ATMs in bank lobbies where you have to use your card to get into the lobby. I guess a crook could still use a stolen card to get into the lobby and attach a skimmer, but the bank could also make the doors lock if the card was reported stolen, which would discourage that.

Anyway, I get all of my cash from bank ATMs. Until my last trip, I have not averaged one credit card use per trip, only at Bahn automats or ticket counters. On my last trip, my partner did use my credit card to buy clothing items from major stores, but the card was never out of my sight. My biggest fear would be giving someone the card who takes it out of sight, then brings it back, and months later you get a credit card bill for purchases in Serbia.

Posted by
440 posts

In any bar or restaraunt they should always bring the card machine to you or go yourself to the desk never hand your card to anyone

Posted by
30932 posts

This is nothing new. Scammers in this area have installed skimmers on gas pumps and ATM's in the past, but fortunately that hasn't happened lately. It's not surprising that it's happening in the U.K. and elsewhere. Skimmers are mostly a problem with the old fashioned magnetic stripe cards, and not as much with the newer Chip & Pin cards. Unfortunately most (if not all) C&P cards also have a magnetic stripe and I'll be happy when they get rid of those!

I'm also not surprised that scammers are now using wireless card readers to obtain card numbers and other details from "Tap" cards. This has been a known weakness for five years or more, but I haven't heard of it happening too often. Here's a description on how that's accomplished..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0Uc_s3XzSs

A less vulnerable system is to leave the cards at home and use something like Apple Pay, as that can't be skimmed (although that will only work for smaller transactions, as some banks have a daily limit on "tap" purchases). The other option is to keep the cards in an RFID protected wallet, although that seems to be a topic that not everyone on the forum agrees with. RFID-resistant products are available in many travel stores and from suppliers such as.... http://www.idstronghold.com/?gclid=CKW1p-CXvdACFQ9Efgod4IID6Q

"never hand your card to anyone"

That never happens with C&P cards as the card holder has to enter the PIN to complete the transaction. Wireless POS terminals are very common in this area for restaurants (they bring the machine to the table), Taxis, pizza delivery, etc.

Posted by
12090 posts

Bringing three credit cards is exactly what I do. Better to be prepared with an extra card in case of anything goes amiss, ie, card doesn't go through and you don't know why.

Posted by
10891 posts

Oh, so this is an Eastern European thing. Sounds like you just need to avoid places frequented by Slovenians, Croatians and Slovakians; in the US and in Europe. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by
2022 posts

I know we should be apolitical here, but after that I can't resist -Trump Tower and the White House?