Skimming cleans out account

An Auckland man is among the latest victims of ATM fraud after having more than $1000 stolen from his bank account.

He was surprised when his card was declined at a supermarket and rushed home to check his bank account to find it was nearly empty.

The man's account was cleaned out by multiple withdrawals in Bulgarian currency.

Two days earlier he'd used the Kiwibank ATM outside the Highbury shopping centre and he believes a skimming device was attached to the machine to get his account details. Fraudsters can attach a skimming machine to ATM card slots in most cases to record customers' details while a tiny camera captures the PIN.

The man was reimbursed once he visited a Kiwibank branch but says it was inconvenient to be without the money for a few days.

"I have a six-month-old son and mucking around with accounts has been a pain."

Another customer was in the bank when he visited complaining about the same problem, he says.

He says he will never use an ATM again and is warning others about the risks.

He is especially concerned about older people who may not, unlike him, be able to check their accounts online.

Age Concern executive officer Janferie Bryce-Chapman encourages the elderly to visit their banks and check if they think anything is wrong.

She says a lot of older people are internet users but many over 80 do not have a computer at home and cannot afford broadband.

Age Concern has been trying to spread the message about scams, Bryce-Chapman says. "Just to make people aware it's not an honest world, unfortunately."

Kiwibank communications manager Bruce Thompson would not confirm how the money was taken from the customer's account.

ATM fraud happens to all banks and is almost impossible to stop, Thompson says.

Crime can happen very quickly, he says.

"It can happen anytime or anywhere.

"It doesn't have office hours."

He says as soon as the bank realises what has happened, it works out who has used the ATM and gets in touch with customers to let them know why their money is missing.

"People should be cautious if they are using an ATM and there's something attached to it, but also have confidence their bank will look after them."

Age Concern has organised BNZ national security and fraud co-ordinator Bronwyn Groot to host a seminar about different types of scams including online, phone, bank and credit card scams.

The talk is from 10am till noon on July 10 at the Positive Aging Centre, 7 The Strand, Takapuna.

Call Age Concern on 489 4975 or email before July 3 to book.

North Shore Times