tourists and their wallets. The scammers are so arrogant that they deliberately stick fake signs on working ATMs in an attempt to redirect tourists to others that are more vulnerable to card skimming – i.e. installing special devices that allow you to “read” the pin code and other data of the tourist card.
Indonesian media refer to the testimony of tourists in social networks, which caught the scammers at work. “I warn you, this guy in the purple shirt keeps putting the “broken” sign on a fully functional Commonwealth Bank ATM in the Bintang supermarket,” one tourist writes on social networks. The photo shows a fully functional, that is, not displaying any warnings on the screen, a Commonwealth Bank ATM located in the Seminyak supermarket, where someone placed a handwritten – and in English, a “broken” sign above the card slot.
“I saw that several unsuspecting tourists approached the damaged ATM and were already ready to change their course when they saw the sign and select the nearby machine. I stepped in to reassure them that the Commonwealth Bank ATM was fully operational and urged them not to use other ATMs. That guy continued to watch me and seemed to be very angry, and as soon as I left, I saw out of the corner of my eye how he put up this “broken” sign again, ”added the worried tourist.
As experts explained, this is a common danger in Bali – and in other Asian countries. The scammers are patiently waiting for unsuspecting people to use the nearest ATM, which is likely equipped with a skimmer, a device designed to secretly collect information about cardholders. for illegal purposes. Card skimmers are commonly installed on legitimate card readers, including ATMs and payment terminals, allowing fraudsters to steal payment card details. At the same time, it is Commonwealth Bank ATMs in Bali that are considered relatively safe due to the constant monitoring of personnel, which minimizes the risk of skimming – which is why insolent scammers mark them as “broken” or “out of order”, thereby directing people to more vulnerable options.
What is skimming and how to protect yourself from it? The Russian bank Tinkoff commented that “Asian skimming kung fu knows no equal”, explained how scammers “work” and gave advice to tourists on how to protect themselves from skimmers. “In order to steal the contents of the card, scammers need to copy two things: the magnetic strip on the card and the pin. To do this, they have three devices in their arsenal: a skimmer or a home-made magnetic tape reader that scammers attach to an ATM card reader, a hidden camera that is recorded by a pin or a fake keyboard for the same purpose,” the bank explains. The first safety rule that the bank recommends is not to use street ATMs standing alone, especially in poorly lit places – this is just a “find” for skimmers; in a bank branch, ATMs are much safer, but in a supermarket, as we see, tourists can be in for unpleasant surprises from “arrogant scammers”, in addition, scammers may be in cahoots with security, which deliberately aims “stationary” cameras at a number of ATMs. Also, tourists are advised to carefully inspect the ATM, especially the place for entering the card and the reader. “Usually, scammers install spy devices for several hours because they are afraid of inspectors' checks. Therefore, they use simple methods of fastening: adhesive tape, glue, honestly. Often scammers leave traces: gaps, adhesive smudges and chips. It is better not to use an ATM, the card reader of which looks as if someone was picking it with a screwdriver or doused it with glue,” Tinkof said. It is also worth checking the “strength” of the keyboard, ATM panels and card reader, in order to identify possibly installed reading devices. On the contrary, the sign of a “good” ATM will most likely be anti-skimming pads – transparent “caps” above the card acceptor, and “wings” covering the keyboard, which prevent reading the pin code.
The bank also gave tourists the following advice :
- Cover your hand with your free hand when entering your pin. Sometimes criminals don't install cameras and overhead keyboards, but simply hire people to watch you dial your pin.
- Switch to a chipped card. Having a chip will not secure you 100%. The chip is really hard to copy. But it is read by an ATM, but scammers know where to find outdated ATMs and withdraw cash using a magnetic stripe. Chips reduce the risk, but do not reduce it to zero.
- Connect the SMS bank. This will help you respond quickly to sudden debits.
- Set withdrawal limits in Internet Banking. Fraudsters will not be able to withdraw the entire amount at one time.
For those who care about a healthy lifestyle, we recommend reading: “Scientists have named a detailed diet for residents of northern countries to prevent diseases.”