Date09th October 2023

Written by adrian

Skimming and Scams: How to prevent becoming a victim of fraud whilst travelling

As a foreign visitor, you are often seen as an easy target for fraudsters. Since you are likely to be unfamiliar with the area, the local customs and the currency and may not speak the local language, so are unable to react quickly if something happens. Plus you may be carrying quite a lot of money and plastic cards with you and be willing to spend a reasonable amount on sightseeing, restaurants, bars or shopping.

When abroad, even the savviest traveller can fall victim to a fraud attempt, so in order to prevent any money loss it is very important to know some of the most common traps when using your credit card or taking cash from an ATM.

Credit and debit card risks: personal skimming fraud:
Skimming is the crime of getting private information about somebody else’s credit or debit card that has been used in a normal transaction such as making a payment or withdrawing cash. There are two types:

ATM skimming
In this case, the thieves will copy your debit card by installing an illegal card-reading device on an ATM. Then, in order to record your personal PIN number at the same time that you make a transaction, they additionally use either a miniature camera inconspicuously attached to the machine or a keypad overlay that presses the correct buttons whilst transmitting the PIN entered.

Credit Card skimming
When paying at a restaurant, bar or shop by credit card, it is relatively easy for someone to copy your card details onto the receipt afterwards, and then use these details for further small and unauthorised transactions. This is usually quite successful as small charges are likely to go undetected by the card owner.More advanced thieves may even transcribe your card’s security code when your card is out of your immediate view.

To avoid money loss be aware of the risks when using credit cards or ATMs. Review your credit card billing regularly and report any unauthorized transactions immediately you spot them. When withdrawing cash from an ATM, pay attention to the machine and its surroundings and if anything looks unusual, don’t use it. Modern ATMs often display a picture of what the slot and keypad are supposed to look like, enabling consumers to identify any additional devices, but this may not be the case in countries where ATM are less common (and older).

Interchange is a reliable partner for money exchange and has more than 130 branches across 15 different countries. We have offices and ATMs at 9 major airports and many of the most popular cities, so keep an eye out for our familiar orange branding, rather than using an office or ATM that might not be quite what it seems.