ALBERTA

Card Skimming In Southern Alberta Resurfaces

04/04/2013 02:35 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT
Alamy

Card skimming is resurfacing in southern Alberta.

According to CBC Calgary, numerous cardholders were hit over the Easter long weekend, although it is unclear how many were affected.

The Vancouver Province reports that many of those affected are residents of Okotoks, and investigators think the skimming operation might be tied to a local business.

Police say thieves tend to target high-volume businesses, where a lot of consumer information can be collected in a short amount of time.

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Mike Dickinson with Servus Credit Union told CBC his institution, along with others, were working to help recoup the losses to those affected.

"We don't want them to suffer any losses or any inconvenience, and if it's very clear that they're not involved and their card has been compromised we make good on any losses they may have," he said.

Despite the increase chip technology protection, card skimming is still a problem across Canada.

“It’s a lucrative pastime for scammers and fraudsters,” Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau for Alberta, told the Calgary Herald last month.

For the most part, card skimming takes place at merchant terminals. Skimming machines can be purchased by fraudsters for the low price of $50 and swapped in place of legitimate PIN pads in seconds.

When the card is swiped through the skimming technology, the cardholder's information is stored on the machine. The criminals return to pick up the machine - leaving no one the wiser.

As well, scammers are known to install cameras near point of sale terminals and ATMs to record the numbers punched into a pin pad.

Crozier-McKee told the Herald consumers should keep an eye out for suspicious activity on their bank statements, keep their PINs well covered and look for signs of a fraudulent machine.

“It’s very hard to get your money back and it’s very hard to re-establish your ID,” she said.

Interac Association would not confirm to CBC how many people were affected by the latest scam.