How to protect yourself from ATM scammers in the UAE

ATMs are a hot target from scammers so stay vigilant when withdrawing cash.

While people may think debit or ATM cards are less risky, they are still a hot target for scammers. Sarah Dea / The National
Powered by automated translation

Did you know that one UAE resident in 10 has been the victim of online credit card fraud? That statistic was revealed in a survey this year by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), and showed that the most common category of credit card scams was fraudulent transactions, or stolen credit card details. Other scams included debit for a wrong purchase, no product delivery and cardholders being duped by fake websites.

In times when credit cards are an easier way to pay for almost everything, we often overlook the possible risks. According to a report by Network International, domestic spending on cards in the UAE increased by 12 per cent in the first quarter this year, as compared with the same period last year, suggesting that residents are increasingly using their cards for purchases and need to be more aware of scams.

While you may think debit or ATM cards are less risky, they are still a hot target for scammers. Popular scams include shoulder surfing to obtain your Pin code and phishing emails that trick you into giving out your personal details. Other advanced scams include use of skimming devices, fake keypads and cash trapping equipment.

To safeguard yourself from losing your money at the hands of fraudsters take precautionary measures wherever possible. Here, the team from the financial comparison website lists its tips to protect yourself from being scammed at the ATM:

• Use your bank’s SMS service, which informs you of purchased items and withdrawals, to keep track of your purchases.

• Do not use machines that look dodgy or tampered with. Use ATMs in banks or inside malls. Avoid using free-standing cash machines, which can be easily targeted by scammers.

• Make sure the person behind you does not get a view of your Pin. Also, cover the keypad to prevent any hidden cameras from recording your Pin.

• Contact your bank immediately if your card is jammed or confiscated. Do not leave the ATM while you call them to resolve the issue.

• Do not rely on the help of strangers to retrieve your card if it gets stuck.

• Do not share your card information with anyone, especially the Pin. Jot down your code in a password-protector app on your phone instead of writing it down on a piece of paper.

• Do not hand over your card to any unauthorised person.

• Be cautious about giving out information to people who call you or send emails. Most banks warn customers against sharing their Pin, or other sensitive information with bank personnel.

• Trust your instincts. If something seems strange with an ATM machine or the people around it, just walk away.

Follow us on Twitter @TheNationalPF