Beware of the ATM Card Trap Scam: How to Stay Safe

A recent report from the Times of India has brought to light a new ATM scam called the ATM card trap scam. This deceptive scheme is orchestrated by fraudsters to pilfer your money and sensitive personal information. Here’s an overview of how the scam operates and essential tips to safeguard yourself:

How the ATM Card Trap Scam Works

  1. Tampered ATM: Scammers manipulate the ATM’s card reader, either by attaching a skimming device to steal your card information or by removing the reader entirely, causing your card to become stuck.
  2. Feigning Helpfulness: Upon encountering a stuck card, a seemingly helpful stranger might approach you, offering assistance. They may suggest re-entering your PIN to “unstick” the card (all while observing your PIN) or propose to contact the bank on your behalf.
  3. PIN Stealing: The scammer’s aim is to distract you and prompt you to leave the ATM, hoping you’ll forget your trapped card and leave. This gives them the opportunity to retrieve your card and use your stolen PIN to withdraw money from your account.
  4. Emptying Your Account: Once you’ve left, the scammer seizes your card and, armed with your PIN, empties your account through unauthorized withdrawals.

Tips to Stay Safe from the ATM Card Trap Scam

  1. Inspect the ATM: Before using an ATM, carefully examine the card slot for anything unusual or suspicious attachments. Look out for signs of tampering such as loose parts or concealed cameras.
  2. Avoid Strangers’ Assistance: If your card gets stuck, refrain from accepting help from strangers. It’s safer to be cautious and seek assistance directly from your bank.
  3. Protect Your PIN: Never disclose your PIN to anyone, including bank officials. Legitimate banks will never request your PIN via phone or in person.
  4. Contact Your Bank: In case your card gets trapped, immediately contact your bank using the customer service number on the back of your card or through the bank’s official app.
  5. Choose Secure ATMs: Opt for ATMs situated in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras, preferably within bank premises during operational hours.
  6. Report Suspicious ATMs: If you notice any signs of tampering or suspect an ATM, report it promptly to both the bank and the relevant authorities.

By staying vigilant and following these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to the ATM card trap scam and safeguard your financial assets.

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