Tom Muleya Fraud Insight
Card cloning is fast becoming a serious challenge in Zimbabwe. The Covid-19 period starting from early 2020 to date has seen an upsurge of card cloning cases, with large numbers recorded during period 2021 to 2022.
Criminals are enjoying victims’ hard earned money through the use of cloned cards while victims remain in possession of the original ATM card.
The Chronicle of March 19, carried a story of a cloner who was arrested in Bulawayo after being found in possession of 78 ZimSwitch cards.
Everyone is a potential victim and therefore needs to take responsibility and make deliberate measures to prevent this crime.
Card cloners gather personal details or information of their targets in a number of ways.
These include acts of identity theft where key pieces of personal information such as credit and identification cards are obtained and through cyber hacking.
The other way is where the potential victim willingly gives personal information to a friend and or stranger.
In the local context, the common points of compromise are the supermarkets, banking halls and ATMs, fuel stations and among others.
Mr Z while making a report to the police stated that 45 minutes after buying groceries at a supermarket, he received an SMS on his cellphone that he had purchased goods worth $80 000 at another supermarket.
The following questions then arise; what happened? How did it happen? Where did it happen? What is the implication? Could this have been avoided?
The above scenario tells us that Mr Z was a victim of card cloning. The point of compromise was the first supermarket.
The card cloner was probably closely observing Mr Z and secretly captured the bank card details while the victim was transacting. At the time of losing the personal bank details to the fraudster, Mr Z was not even aware what was happening.
This crime could have been avoided if Mr Z had considered the following preventive measures while shopping;
- Properly securing his bank card while in the supermarket to make it difficult for criminals to capture the important information.
- Being security conscious and keeping reasonable distance between himself and the next customer while watching for suspicious behaviour.
- Shielding the POS machine terminal while entering the PIN.
- Being awrae of people who were unreasonably placing themselves too close to him.
- Watching for suspicious behaviour of the till operator such as holding on to the card for too long. Some employees are now part of criminal syndicates and supply bank card details and PIN to card cloners in return for kickbacks.
If you go shopping, consider the above suggestions to avoid becoming a victim.
For your feedback, WhatsApp line: 0772 764 043, or e-mail:[email protected] Tom Muleya is a Detective Assistant Inspector working under the Criminal Investigations Department. Harare. He is also a member of the National Cyber Security Taskforce, Zimbabwe.