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BEWARE! 7 Ways Scammers Can Steal Money from Your Debit Card
BEWARE! 7 Ways Scammers Can Steal Money from Your Debit Card
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BEWARE! 7 Ways Scammers Can Steal Money from Your Debit Card

Ian Job
September 5, 2022

Most people's financial transactions are now online. Banking and shopping involve more debit card swiping, attracting criminals and con artists who take advantage of small loopholes to steal your hard-earned money. 

What do you do when money goes instantly missing from your debit card or bank account? You might not immediately realise it until a check bounces, or you cannot make any payments. 

You might also not explain the anomaly until you discover it is criminals at work, having accessed your debit card PIN.  

To ensure that your personal and account details are kept safe, and to keep you in the know, we have listed seven ways they do it; 

1. By Hacking Public Wi-Fi to Access Your Debit Card Details 

If there is an easy loophole criminals master and use to retrieve confidential information from people's devices, it’s through public Wi-Fi. Many innocently and ignorantly click on their smartphone's available free Wi-Fi icon once it pops because it's convenient. However, whatever critical information you enter may fall into the hands of a ruthless scammer.

Hackers can use this method to steal valuable debit card information from your device. Cybercriminal busters sometimes say that when the public Wi-Fi icon pops up on your smartphone, it could be the criminals in close vicinity using a laptop or another smartphone attempting to steal data from unsuspecting users. 

Once you sign in, it’s a done deal for them. To create counterfeit cards, they quickly repossess confidential debit card information, including your name, address, and PIN. 

How can you prevent this from ever happening to you?

  • Never use public Wi-Fi while doing your online transactions.
  • If you have to use public networks, install a VPN.
  • Stick with your service provider. You'd rather spend it on slightly costly data charges than compromise your entire debit card information which may jeopardise your savings.

2. Getting Physical Access to Your Devices 

Criminals can devise ways to access and steal your debit card PIN from a store's computer, laptop, or even phone. 

While many people think phishing scams and malware are a menace, physical vulnerabilities such as this can be an even more significant risk to your confidential debit card information.

It could be someone close to your workplace or even your home, retrieving your PIN if your device doesn't have a secure password. 

Here is how to take timely precautions:

  • Carefully store your confidential bank details with encrypted hard drives and USBs.
  • Do not leave post-it notes or any other paper-written PIN info lying around.
  • Protect your network and computer with strong passwords.
  • Lock your smartphones and secure them with the most robust passwords too
  • Back up your devices in case you lose them. It's then easy to change your passwords before someone else does.  

3. Double Swiping by Unscrupulous Shop Employees 

The truth is that most store employees are loyal and honest. But once in a while, you won't miss that one person who isn't honest.

You could think it's human error at first. However, it might be a purposeful act of deception. They'll quickly double-take on your card if you don't keep an eye on them.

A fraudster's standard technique is to double-swipe your card more than once, with the first swipe info going to your bank. As for the second, your guess is correct. It enables them to retain confidential information by which they create a fake card and fleece your account.

Some of the most practical precautions include:

  • Strictly shopping with cash.
  • Keep the PIN information to yourself.
  • Keep your eyes on the card while swiping for any funny activities.
  • Frequently check your account balances for any discrepancies and raise a complaint with your bank.
  • Maintain all shopping receipts to compare bank transactions and statements.

4. Through Phishing

Have you ever come across fake emails posing as legitimate? It is phishing. A technique many hackers use to create emails seemingly from your bank. They could also attempt phone calls or create phony websites.  

You might think it's a legitimate email with a familiar name from your bank or company. The message could also have some urgency to it, needing you to respond quickly. A commonly used line might be that your ATM is disabled, and you have to confirm your PIN for its reactivation. 

An unsuspecting person might think it's a legitimate email and proceed to provide the debit card details.  

To stay safe; 

  • Check for any grammatical errors within the email's domain name or address. 
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links that could lead you to the hacker's hands.
  • Do not fall for emotional blackmail, threats, or urgency theatrics that suggest your bank's details are inactive or have been suspended.
  • Again, to prevent impersonation by hackers, never provide your confidential debit card information.

Another preventive method is to physically conduct business with your company, retailer, or bank and not do it over the phone or via email.

5. ATM Skimming

Skimmers have taken their game a notch higher and can pin a fake card-reading device over the face of an ATM to obtain your PIN. The tiny digital readers are almost undetectable to the naked eye. Yet this is all it takes for criminals to capture the data on your debit card. They will eventually download this data, use it to create counterfeit debit cards, and withdraw money from your account at another ATM.

Here is how to stay safe:

  • Do a double even triple check of the ATM to ensure there hasn't been any tempering. The keypad can have a few telltale signs of altering or meddling. 
  • Avoid standalone ATMs lacking a direct connection with the bank since security cameras may fail to capture machine interference. 

6. Using Malicious Software 

Malware and spyware are other destructive methods for fraudsters to damage bank servers and access sensitive and confidential debit card details.

You have to be careful regarding what you download online. Hackers use harmful software so that once you download or click on suspicious links, they quickly retrieve sensitive information such as your debit card PIN. 

To prevent this from ever happening to you;

  • Only download attachments from trusted sources. 
  • Use the most effective antivirus to help detect and delete any infectious software.


It's not just online that you could lose your debit card info and, subsequently, money. Thieves are lying in wait offline as well. Sometimes you can detect when it happens and alert your bank. Other times, though, it could be too late with your entire savings gone.

Prevention is better than cure. You do not have to put your debit card information at risk. Instead, take all required precautions before losing your money to swindlers.

Ian Job is an articulate writer with over four years of experience in SEO writing, digital marketing and screenwriting. Away from writing, he's probably producing an indie movie if you don't find him mentoring upcoming content writers. You can connect with him on Medium.

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