Skimming: fallen victim to skimming, what now?

Skimming is now becoming a well-known concept in the Netherlands. However, the fame of this trick does not mean that there are no more victims. People can do much more to prevent becoming victims of skimming, although it cannot always be prevented. And then the question arises: what should you do if you have become a victim of skimming?

What is skimming?

Skimming involves criminals trying to copy data from your bank card. The purpose of this is to later use that data yourself or sell it to other criminals in order to debit a lot of money from your account. This is possible because they copy the magnetic stripe of your bank card and read your PIN code using a camera. In order to copy the magnetic stripe and view the PIN code with a camera, they must first attach a device to the ATM at the bank or in a store. The skimming equipment is made in such a way that the difference is barely visible between a normal ATM and a machine with skimming equipment. They can then copy the data from the magnetic stripe onto their own blank card, giving them a bank card with a working PIN code that they can use for transactions.

How do you know that you have become a victim?

If you regularly look at your (digital) bank statements, you will soon notice that you have become a victim of skimming. You will then discover that amounts are being debited from your account (usually repeatedly), but you have no idea what it is for and to which institution it goes. For example, it will often have a foreign description, because skimming is an international method of fraud. It is therefore important that you regularly check your statements or open your internet banking. If you don’t, you will eventually notice. For example, you want to pay for your groceries at the supermarket by debit card and you receive a message that your balance is insufficient. Of course, that can happen sometimes, but most people know for themselves whether there is a logically explainable reason for this or not. If in doubt, you can immediately check your statements or internet banking and you will find the cause. When you think of strange debits, you may quickly think of skimming. In addition, the banks themselves also monitor whether they encounter suspicious transactions. They may therefore contact you to inform you that you have become a victim of skimming.

What should you do if you notice that you are a victim of skimming?

If you notice that you are a victim of skimming, it is important to contact your bank first. Tell your story and they will explain what you can do. The bank account can be blocked to prevent the damage from becoming even greater. You must also complete a number of forms with which you can report the incident to the police. This way you will eventually get your money back.

How can you avoid becoming a victim of skimming?

To begin with, it is important to be aware of the fact that you can become a victim of skimming practices. Many people have heard about it through the grapevine, but do not take any precautions because they think it only happens to someone else. Believe me, it can happen to anyone, even if you are on your guard. Then look carefully at the machine when you withdraw your card. As soon as you see something suspicious, investigate it. If the input slot appears to be made of a different material or is slightly loose, take a closer look. If in doubt: pin elsewhere and report your suspicions to the relevant bank. If you don’t see anything suspicious, at least protect your PIN code. The PIN code can be viewed by a person or camera. Many people think it is stupid to shield the PIN code, but it is safer! If you still have doubts during the debit card process, cancel the transaction! You can also take measures to limit the damage. Consider a withdrawal limit per day and/or month. You can also set that you cannot be overdrawn or only have a certain amount. Transactions that exceed the limits are then blocked. Update: To prevent skimming as much as possible, you now have to activate your card at Rabobank to be able to withdraw by debit card abroad, as this is blocked by default.