Card cloning cases rise alarmingly

Card cloning cases rise alarmingly
Published: 27 November 2018
POLICE have said commercial crimes are on the increase in the country with cases involving the cloning of bank cards rising sharply.

Speaking on the sidelines of a multi-stakeholder meeting on Internet Governance in Harare recently, National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said card cloning cases have risen alarmingly as more people are using plastic money.

Card cloning involves the production of counterfeit bank debit cards by criminals after fraudulently acquiring bank debit/credit card information contained in the magnetic strip of the bank debit card.

Asst Comm Nyathi urged people to guard their banking details jealously and avoid swiping at unmarked point of sale machines.

"We are seeing an upward trend in card cloning cases and more in cyber-crime in general. Our departments are working flat out to ensure that culprits are brought to book and meanwhile, the public should stay safe and not share banking information with strangers," he said.

The Officer Commanding the Cyber Crimes Unit in the Commercial Crimes Division, Superintendent Amos Tavaziwa, said criminals were acquiring bank debit card information through gadgets known as skimmers. He said these skimmers are able to extract debit card information and the said devices are similar to point of sale machines.

He advised card holders to make use of electronic banking systems offered by banks such as instant messaging platforms, as this will enable detection of unauthorised payments and prompt blocking of the debit card by the bank to mitigate financial damage.

Supt Tavaziva said a genuine point of sale machine produces a slip when the transaction is unsuccessful due to connectivity issues.

He said most commercial crimes were done by unemployed techno savvy youths who connive with unscrupulous business people to dupe unsuspecting customers.

Supt Tavaziva said between January 2018, over 200 cases of card cloning and over 600 cases of other cybercrimes were recorded across the country.

In 2016, cybercrimes totalled 25 and the number rose to 38 in 2017, before skyrocketing to over 600 by September.

"Criminals are taking advantage of the uptake of plastic money by business organisations and members of the public to swindle money through card cloning," he said.

"Point of sale machines are a major catalyst and intelligence gathered has pointed out that there is collusion between these cyber criminals and cashiers at shops, liquor outlets and casinos, just to name a few."

People were also urged to ensure that their debit cards are not taken out of sight by cashiers or till operators.
- chronicle
Tags: Bank,


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