PIN-pad scam makes the rounds

The latest scam to hit the North Okanagan is a portable one.

  • Sep. 21, 2011 7:00 p.m.

The latest scam to hit the North Okanagan is a portable one.

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP received at least two complaints in early September from residents about a person – in one case a woman – going door-to-door soliciting charitable donations for purchasing back-to-school bags for less fortunate youth.

A wireless terminal was presented to the clients so they could donate funds directly into the charity’s alleged bank account.

“The transactions were processed on a PIN pad with the clients entering their PIN number,” said Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson.

“The actual donations were never charged or billed to their accounts.”

Victims became suspicious about the possible skimming of funds from their accounts and alerted police.

The victims did suffer losses at a later date, some two to two-and-a-half weeks after they entered information on the PIN pad.

One victim lost more than $1,000 though they are working with their bank to be reimbursed.

“When the data was obtained from the PIN pad transaction, a clone was made of their debit card,” explained Molendyk.

“The trojan terminal stored the data from the magnetic strip on their cards, and also stored their PIN number.”

One person thought things were suspicious enough that they changed their bank card number before any money actually came out of their account.

Wireless terminals are used by legitimate businesses such as pizza delivery, taxi companies and by companies like Rocky Mountain Marketing, who raise funds in the North Okanagan-Shuswap for Crime Stoppers.

The woman who came to one resident’s door was wearing a shirt that Molendyk said had some indication it was related to the charity, but the woman never presented identification.

Police and bank security are now asking residents to check their bank accounts regularly and report any unauthorized activity.

“It appears the individual has moved on but police and bank security are still working on the case,” said Molendyk.