The Bank of Ireland is warning customers to be vigilant when using ATMs after two card skimming incidents in the county over the Christmas period.
It is also assuring customers that they will be fully refunded any money lost in the scams.
The bank confirmed two ATM skimming incidents took place, one at a machine in Foxford and one at a machine in Ballina.
It is not yet known how many customers in total were affected but it is understood that a significant number of cards were cancelled and reissued by the bank in a bid to minimise the risk of fraud. However only a small number of customers actually had money stolen from their accounts.
“The bank is proactively contacting customers to confirm the fraud and issue replacement cards, and will continue to closely monitor the situation, which is also under investigation by the Gardaí,” said a spokesperson. “The bank may also cancel and reissue cards to customers to ensure no further fraud can be perpetrated on skimmed cards by the criminals.”
ATM card skimming is now one of the most common types of fraud in Ireland today.
The criminals copy the magnetic strip on a legitimate card through a small handheld device called a ‘skimmer’. Criminals use the data captured by these devices to clone and create fake cards that are used to take cash from accounts and make purchases.
Skimming devices can also be affixed to the front of an ATM where the customers’ card details are copied when they use the facility.
Small cameras may also be attached above the ATM to record the customer using his/her PIN, thus giving the criminals, within a few seconds, all they need to clone your card.
“Because faked or cloned cards can be used fraudulently, even though the cards are still with the customer, Bank of Ireland strongly advises customers to check bank statements regularly and to be vigilant when using their cards at retail outlets and at ATMs,” continued the spokesperson.
“Never let cards out of your sight or possession, and when using the ATM always cover the keypad with your free hand, blocking the view of any camera that may have been installed.
“If you do notice anything unusual at an ATM, such as a strange device or anyone acting suspiciously do not proceed with your transaction and leave immediately.
“Neither should you accept assistance at an ATM, be distracted by anyone, or let others stand too close to you so that they can view you entering your PIN.
“Any such incident should be reported directly to the bank in question and the Gardaí immediately.”