What are they?

In card swapping scams, a fraudster first provides a service to a customer, then, while the customer is paying their bill, the fraudster records their PIN and swaps their card for one that looks very similar. Once the fraudster has the victim’s card and PIN, they can steal money from the victim’s bank accounts. Card swapping is typically used in delivery service scams, such as pizza delivery or taxi services.

How card swapping works in a taxi scam:

  1. The victim enters a taxi provided by a legitimate taxi company.
  2. Once the ride is complete, the victim pays for the service by inserting their bank card into a tampered payment machine and entering their PIN.
  3. The payment machine displays an error message suggesting the transaction couldn’t be completed.
  4. The fraudster takes the machine back on the pretence of trying to fix the error. At this point the fraudster swaps the victim’s card for a similar card with someone else’s name imprinted on it.
  5. The victim thinks they’ve paid for the ride and leaves the taxi without realizing the card swap.

Signs of card swapping

  • The driver takes the payment machine with your card still in it to ‘fix the error’.
  • The payment does not show on your bank statement. This is because the tampered payment machine recorded your PIN instead of making a payment.
  • You notice you have a fake bank card that looks similar to yours. The fake card will either have someone else’s name on it or it won’t have a name on it at all.

How to protect yourself

  • Let your card out of your sight. When you get your card back after making a payment, make sure it’s actually your card and not just one that looks similar.

  • Regularly check your bank statements for any unknown transactions.