Be on guard against skimming


In our “Protect yourself against fraud” series, the Bank Customer Portal discusses the most common types of fraud.  The internet is the channel most frequently used by criminals, but we must remain vigilant against other, still prevalent forms of attack. One such example involves hidden cameras, embedded devices that clone your card data, and fake keypads. It sounds like the plot of a made-for-TV movie, but it is very real.

Using the skimming technique, thieves try to steal information from your card’s magnetic strip by attaching card-reading devices on ATMs, for instance over the card slot. They also steal your PIN by attaching a camera to one side of the ATM to record as you type, or by fitting a fake keypad on top of the real one to log your code. These bogus devices are known as skimmers.

Another technique, known as the Lebanese loop, consists of manipulating the ATM to trap the card. Once the victim gives up and leaves, the thief returns to the ATM and retrieves the card. Yet another technique is to attach a bar coated with glue to the cash slot, causing the notes to get stuck.

These situations can be averted. Follow these security recommendations when withdrawing cash at an ATM:

  • Make sure no one is standing too close or watching you (some ATMs are fitted with convex mirrors so you can see what is happening behind you).
  • Refuse any help or advice from strangers while using the ATM. The only people who can and should help you are employees of the branch.
  • Pull on the card slot firmly to make sure there are no suspicious devices, tap the keyboard to see if it is loose and check the sides for cameras. This is a quick and effective way of spotting this kind of fraud.
  • Cover the keypad with your hand when you enter your PIN. This is good practice whenever you use your card, not just at ATMs.
  • If the ATM has a contactless reader, you do not need to enter your card. Simply scan it and put it back in your wallet.
  • If for any reason the machine does not return your card, never leave the ATM unattended. First notify the bank and then the police.
  • Lastly, we recommend activating SMS alerts to notify you every time a transaction over a certain amount takes place.

The widespread adoption of chip cards makes skimming more difficult and the more modern ATMs are equipped with the latest security measures.


Other examples can be found in our “Protect yourself against fraud” section. Check your account and card movements regularly and report any suspicious or unrecognised transactions immediately.

Did you find this information useful?