Ulster Unionist MLA for Mid Ulster Sandra Overend has warned the public to take caution when disposing of old bank cards, after receiving reports of online card fraud over recent weeks.
Mrs Overend commented:
“I have recently received reports of bank customers that have had money taken from their accounts through old bank cards which they believed were no longer in use.
“The issue arose when one of our local banks issued new ‘debit Mastercards’ to replace the old ‘Maestro’ cards which are no longer accepted by a number of retailers, and instructed account holders to dispose of their old card and start using the new one immediately. Fraudsters appear to have gained access to card information, and used these old cards to make online transactions, often purchasing mobile phone top-up cards.
“I understand that their intentions in a number of cases have been to attempt to withdraw small amounts in order to test out whether a card works without drawing the attention of the account holder, before ‘clearing out’ the account at a later stage. Fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in the way they operate, and public awareness is crucial in combating their activities.
“Thankfully in the cases that have been reported to me, the bank involved has acted quickly to cancel the card and refund any money taken, but nevertheless this has been a worrying experience for those affected.
“I would urge anyone that has recently received a new card from their bank to be aware of this, and take extra care in disposing of their old card, taking all steps possible to prevent card fraud from happening. This should include reporting any lost or stolen cards immediately, asking your bank to ensure the card is cancelled from the day you stop using it, removing any old cards from any accounts with online retailers, and closely monitoring your bank account for any unexplained transactions, however small.”