Hundreds of Wellingtonians have had their bank cards blocked after a Kiwibank ATM fell victim to international scammers.
Early today, it was discovered that the Kiwibank ATM at the Coastlands Mall in Paraparaumu had had a skimming device attached on three separate occasions in late October and early last month, bank communications manager Bruce Thompson said.
"We got hit with a whole lot of suspicious activity overseas at about midnight."
Mr Thompson said Kiwibank immediately blocked the affected cards and reimbursed the money to customers.
New cards were being issued, he said. "The most important thing is to protect customers' account."
Mr Thompson said the skimming device was a "hit-and-run kind", which the fraudsters attached for short periods.
In this particular case, the scammers waited two months before they acted on the information gained from the Paraparaumu scam, and withdrawals were made from four different countries.
"What they do is, [the device], it reads the cards and normally there is one small camera," he said.
The information was stored and sent overseas and duplicate cards were created. These were then used to try to remove funds from accounts.
Mr Thompson said skimming-device scammers were quite common and were sometimes active in New Zealand.
"We can't stop it but we can make sure we reimburse the customers," he said.
"We just have to wear that. It's part of being a bank."
Mr Thompson conceded the scammers would get away with money.
Tips to prevent being scammed at ATMs:
Cover your PIN number with your hand. This ensures any hidden cameras don't pick up the number, so ATM skimmers can't access your account.
2. Use familiar ATMs and limit your visits.
3. Check your bank balance frequently. Report anything unusual to the bank immediately.
4. Look at the ATM before you use it. If something doesn't look right, alert the bank and use another machine.