Association warns ATM card users to be extra vigilant in light of new theft cases

The Czech Bank Card Association has warned ATM card users that fraudsters in Prague have come up with a new method of ripping-off bank accounts: it has come to the light that there were several incidents in the capital in November when a taxi driver quietly switched a customer’s bank card he had been handed, for someone else’s, later making a withdrawal. It is unclear how many times the scenario was repeated but at least one such case is now under investigation by the police.

Bankcard holders need to be more vigilant – that is the message being sent by the Czech Bank Card Association in connection with new cases of bank card theft. During the month of November several consumers in Prague, making use of taxi services, were allegedly victims of a switch, in which their driver replaced their debit card with another – moves that unfortunately went unnoticed.

In the main case reported by Czech TV on Monday, the driver asked his customer for his PIN number a moment before switching the card and saying the transaction was not possible. Later the driver was able to withdraw – or rather steal - from the account at leisure. The amount stolen? More than four thousand crowns, an expensive ride indeed and other cases were reportedly similar. Karel Kadlčák, a representative of the Czech bank Česká spořitelna and a member of the Bank Card Association’s executive committee, said this on Monday.

“Each and every one of the incidents took place at night and none of the clients noticed anything wrong.”

The association has now warned users to take extra care, and should they fall victim to similar such schemes, should naturally block their card immediately, while at the same time contacting the police.

What’s more, card holders should know not all cases entail physical theft: the City of Prague recently reported that one driver, instead of charging 700 crowns, charged 7,000, something the hapless customer failed to notice. The Czech bank Česká spořitelna, which confirmed it saw a number of similar such cases in recent months, was equally adamant card-holders should not take the dangers lightly. The bank’s spokeswoman Kristyna Havligerova:

“Users should never let their debit card out of sight when paying and to always shield their PIN number.” Police, meanwhile, have refuse to discuss details, including which taxi service’s drivers may have been involved, saying only the matter is under investigation.