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Mayo bank customers hit by card scams


€5,000 taken from credit card without authorisation

Cory Kilbane

A Mayo man has been left in ‘complete shock’ after his debit card was skimmed and up to €5,000 belonging to him was spent without his authorisation.
He believes that his card details were stolen when he used an ATM to withdraw cash in Galway last week.
“More incidents that were similar to mine had been reported before mine. I think it was something inside the machine that did it,” said the man, who wishes to remain anonymous for personal reasons.
Credit/debit-card skimmers are physical devices, usually placed over the card-swipe slots of ATMs. When the card is placed through the skimmer, the device captures and stores the details  from the card’s magnetic strip.
“I didn’t realise it had happened until I was in The Mayo News office a few days later. I was putting in a memoriam in the paper, and the machine wouldn’t accept payment from my card when I went to pay,” he explained.
The man immediately phoned his bank to find out what was going on. “It was embarrassing. I thought to myself, ‘Well this can’t be right’. I knew I had plenty of money in the account, but then all of a sudden I only had 40-odd euro in it.”
On learning that his bank details had been used without his authorisation, he notified the Gardaí straight away. “It was a real shock and it’s annoying too,” he said. “It has messed me up for Christmas in a big way.
“The only [comfort] is that I’m going to get the money back, but it’s been a bit of a disaster. It’s an awful inconvenience at this time of year. I’ve had to cancel and change my bank account too,” he revealed.
“It’s hard … it’s very hard. It’s not something you’d ever expect to happen to you. It seems to be a real problem at this time of year, and it can happen anywhere, on the internet or anywhere. It’s crazy.”
According to the man, the majority of the money was spent in IKEA in Dublin.

Other card scams
Physically skimming a card is not the only way in which a bank customer’s bank account can be accessed illegally.
The Mayo News also learned yesterday of another Mayo resident, a 45-year-old woman living in Westport, whose credit-card account had been accessed illegally over the last number of days.
When checking her credit-card account online on Sunday night, the woman noticed two online transactions, totalling over €500, that she had not authorised. One was for €100, for online purchases made with a clothing retailer in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin, the other was for over €400, which had been spent at a Polish online store. When she called her bank to report the illicit transactions, she discovered that an attempt had also been made to use her credit-card number to register a new account on iTunes. Luckily, that attempt had failed.
The bank told her that her card details had likely been stolen by criminals who had hacked an online store that she had previously used legitimately. She cancelled her card immediately.
“It was a horrible shock,” she told The Mayo News yesterday. “It’s eerie to think of someone using your card details without you knowing, and very upsetting to see transactions you know nothing about appearing on your online account.
“The bank’s fraud team is looking into it, which is reassuring, but I still have to wait to hear back from them. It’s very stressful – and definitely something I could do without in the run up to Christmas.”  In the wake of these and other fraudulent debit- and credit-card incidents around the country, shoppers are being warned to regularly check their bank accounts over the Christmas period. Any customer noticing suspicious activity should report it to their bank without delay, and notify the Gardaí as soon as possible.

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