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Beware cunning new twist on bank card PIN scams

media release –12 May 2014

Beware cunning new twist on bank card PIN scams

Bank customers will continue to be ripped off by scammers as long as they keep revealing their card PINs, says Banking Ombudsman Deborah Battell.

“The reality is scammers are very cunning at getting bank card PINs out of people who make matters worse for themselves if they use one PIN for multiple cards. A recent case highlights what can happen if you reveal a PIN that you use for more than one purpose,” Ms Battell said.

The complainant took a phone call at work from someone saying she had won a $1,000 retail gift voucher, and was asked for a four-digit password to redeem it. She gave three different passwords but each time was told it was taken. She was then given a random one.

At the time she didn’t know her handbag, with two EFTPOS cards and a loyalty card for the retailer supposedly offering the voucher, had been stolen. The voucher was a trick to get her bank card PINs.

“The complainant lost $6,000 because, in the first instance, she revealed her PINs. She was tricked into disclosing hers by a scammer who played on the fact people limit the number of PINs they have.

“As well as the number one rule not to reveal your PINs, for additional account security we strongly advise customers have unique PINs for each bank card and not use these for other non-banking purposes,” Ms Battell said.

The complainant wanted her bank to reimburse her but it wouldn’t because she was careless with her PINs, and had left her bag in an unsecure place. Despite this, the bank offered her a goodwill payment of half the amount.

She then complained to the Banking Ombudsman Scheme because she didn’t think the offer was good enough.

“We had some sympathy for her. The scenario appeared credible because she shopped with the retailer and the voucher was relatively low in value. But because our investigation found she contributed to the theft by revealing her PINs, we suggested she accept its goodwill offer as the bank was not obliged to reimburse her,” Ms Battell said.

For more information about card security, see our quick guide on Looking after your credit and debit cards and PINs.


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