What is a card swapping scam?

Fraudsters will swap your bank card with a similar looking card while you're making a payment for a service that's been completed or fulfilled. Card swapping typically happens in delivery service scams, such as pizza delivery or taxi services.

How card swapping works

  1. When you pay for the delivery or taxi ride, you insert your bank card into a POS terminal. This compromised terminal records your PIN.
  2. The payment machine displays an error message suggesting the transaction can't be completed.
  3. The fraudster takes the machine back under the pretence of trying to fix the error. At this point, the fraudster swaps your bank card for a similar-looking card.
  4. You believe you've completed the payment and leave without realizing the bank cards were swapped.

Signs of card swapping

  • The delivery person or driver takes the payment machine with your card still in it to "fix the error."
  • The payment doesn't appear on your bank statement. This is because the tampered terminal recorded your PIN instead of processing a payment.
  • You have a different or 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.

Stay safe with our tips

  • Keep your bank card in 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.
  • Set transaction alerts to monitor any activity on your accounts or with your bank card.
  • Use the contactless payment method whenever you can to protect your PIN.
  • If you can, cover the keypad with your hand or body when entering your PIN at a point-of-sale terminal.

Learn more about card swapping scams

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Opens in a new window.

Report fraud when it happens and track the latest data on fraud in Canada.

The Little Black Book of Scams Opens in a new window.

Download the Canadian Competition Bureau's guide to scams in 8 different languages.

Canadian Bankers Association Opens in a new window.

Read about the latest news and trends in fraud awareness and prevention.