UK-based skimmers fleece NZ cash cards

By Andrew Koubaridis

Photo / Michael Craig
Photo / Michael Craig

An outbreak of card skimming has hit Auckland, with a number of ASB customers having their cards copied and accessed from Britain.

And last night an ANZ spokesman confirmed Eftpos cards of some customers had been compromised and their accounts illegally accessed overseas.

"Customers will not be out of pocket as a result of these crimes. We are currently blocking attempts by these criminals to access funds, reimbursing customers for any losses resulting from the fraud and proactively replacing cards."

It was unclear how many cards were involved and how much money taken.

An ASB spokesman said the skimming complaints were being investigated.

One victim said the scammers tried to take $1800 from her account.

"I got a call to say, because my card got declined, that someone had tried to access it in the UK. They tried to take out the entire balance."

She went into the bank on Thursday morning and got her card numbers changed and was told by a staff member there she was the tenth person that morning to have had their card skimmed.

She then went online and discovered several other cases, all accessed from Britain.

At first she suspected it was a supermarket they all had in common but the Weekend Herald understands the cards were all compromised elsewhere. The woman, who asked not to be named, said she couldn't understand how it happened as she always covered her PIN.

But she was told by the bank it was possible a chip had been installed on the device she used that read the PIN as she put it in.

In many previous cases a tiny camera has been installed at ATMs.

While she was relieved not to have lost money, it was an inconvenience to have to change cards and also troubling that there didn't appear to be anything you could do to prevent skimming from happening.

ASB said all major credit cards and Eftpos cards were regularly targeted by fraudsters, both here and overseas. Fraudulent transactions were reimbursed by the bank but anyone who noticed anything suspicious should tell their bank straight away.

The latest skimming scam follows revelations in the Herald this week that two Auckland brothers had been charged with withdrawing more than $100,000 with counterfeit bank cards. It is the first time New Zealand residents have been charged with a crime normally committed by foreign skimming gangs.

- NZ Herald

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