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Lost or Stolen Cards

Fraud carried out on cards that have been lost or stolen is quite low these days, since the introduction of Chip and PIN. However, it is still important to report an incident of loss or theft to your card issuer immediately. There are various ways that criminals try to steal cards, these include:

  • Intercepting new cards or card PINs in the post. Be mindful of leaving post sitting in a mailbox especially if you live in an apartment block where other people may have access to the boxes or if you are away for a period of time.
  • Handbag or wallet snatches.
  • Shoulder Surfing – Shoulder surfing is a type of theft whereby the thief observes you using your card at an ATM or payment terminal and then shortly after steals it from.
  • Distraction Theft – Similar to shoulder surfing, the thief watches you keying in your PIN at the ATM or at a payment terminal and then distracts you and steals your card. There are different ways in which in which they can do this:
    • Distraction Theft at ATM – The thief or an accomplice watch you keying in your PIN and then distract you before the ATM transaction completes for example by saying you have dropped money. When you look around they grab your card and in the confusion you may think you have taken it back yourself.
    • Card Swap with distraction theft – Similar to above but the thief swaps your card for another card. You are therefore less likely to notice anything wrong, giving the thief an opportunity to clear out your account.
    • Distraction theft after using your card in a store – The thief or an accomplice watch you keying in your PIN in a store. When you leave the store they approach and distract you in some way, perhaps by saying you have dropped money or by asking for directions. While you are distracted an accomplice steals your card.

Key Advice

  1. Report lost or stolen cards to your card issuer immediately.
  2. Cut up old credit or debit cards. In particular, cut through the card number, chip and the black stripe on the back before disposing of them.
  3. Sign new cards immediately. Never write your PIN on your card.
  4. Don’t let your card out of your sight when paying for goods or services.
  5. Check your receipts against your bank statements regularly. If you find a transaction that you don’t recognise, inform your card issuer immediately.
  6. If you’re expecting a new card or PIN in the post and it doesn’t arrive, advise your card issuer immediately.
  7. When using an ATM, be wary of anyone who might be trying to watch you enter your PIN and avoid attempts by individuals to distract you during the cash withdrawal process.
  8. Be wary of anyone who distracts you shortly after you have carried out an ATM transaction or card payment. If you do get distracted, check for your card immediately. In the event that they are missing contact your card issuer straight away.
  9. Be prepared in case your card is lost or stolen. Add your card issuer’s lost and stolen line to your phone contacts. Keep a file with your bank or card issuer’s name and telephone number. Have this separate from your wallet in case it too is stolen.
  10. Never write down your PIN and never reveal it to anyone, even if someone claims to be from your card issuer or even from the Gardaí /Police. Neither would ever ask you to disclose your PIN.
  11. Your card issuer or the Gardaí/Police would never send someone or a courier to collect your card. Criminals have been known to use this as a tactic saying they need the card because there is fraud on it or to keep your money safe.