I was having a horrible week at work, so a close friend decided to treat me to lunch while I unburdened myself of the ‘wahala’ my boss had been giving me. After a decent mid-afternoon meal of afang and fufu, I sat contemplating how best to navigate through the tasks I had for the rest of the day while my friend went to pay. Ten minutes later, he was still trying to pay. I decided to go and investigate whether he had forgotten he had work to do and was trying to set P.
“Bros, I’m finished. Do you have cash on you?” came his response.
See this guy. After promising to buy lunch for me. What sort of drama was he playing at? I reluctantly took the tab and confronted him outside. My friend’s card had been declined and he couldn’t understand why. We got back to the office and it turned out his account had been emptied, and his card used to purchase a plane ticket going from Kuala Lumpur to Belgium. The same card was also used to purchase trainers from a certain “Bluebell Store” in NYC. All while the card was sitting in Lagos, Nigeria.
His card had been cloned.
Card cloning works in several ways
Image credit: Krebson Security
a.) Fraudsters attach a skimmer to an ATM machine, which you use as normal to withdraw money from your account. What you don’t realise is that you card has passed through the skimmer which has captured all the card details, before entering the ATM. The fraudsters retrieve the skimmer later, sell them online where a copy of your card can be reproduced multiple times and in any part of he world.
Fraudsters send you an e-mail from your bank, asking you to update your details or download a harmful file which really is collection your information and card details as you shop online.
What to do
Call your bank immediately you notice the transaction, and report the unauthorised transaction. Ask them to stop all future transactions from that card and to reissue you with a new card. Like my friend found, they will ask you to come into the branch and fill out a form, which is then passed on to Visa or Mastercard, depending on who your card issuer is. Visa and MasterCard have funds aside to tackle this problem and they will reaccredit your account with the missing funds.
Your bank has a limited number of time to respond and deal with the issue, so don’t delay your part. Play your cards right, and the matter will be resolved as my friends was.