Better to be safe than sorry

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You can never be too careful when it comes to taking measures to counter the con artists. In fact, although an incident this week in the province involved a surprise ending, the police were right to err on the side of caution in a turn of events involving banking machines.

Nova Scotians heard news reports Tuesday morning that police were warning business owners in Halifax about what they suspected was fraud artists targeting debit machines. They responded after a couple of well-dressed individuals entered a business in the city and, saying they represented a financial institution, asked questions about the ATMs.

The manager, who was justifiably suspicious, asked them to leave, but police received reports that other businesses in the area were approached in a similar manner. They suspected a ruse to install devices on the machines to steal information from bank cards.

It does sound like a time to keep your guard up. Later in the day, however, police retracted the warning after learning that the people did indeed represent a financial institution and were on legitimate business.

That’s a rather wry turn of events. But it’s also surprising that a financial institution would operate in such a way – sending representatives unannounced to ask questions – that would be bound to raise eyebrows.

On a fairly regular basis we hear of schemes from fraud artists making the rounds – often involving phone calls or email contact. But people must keep in mind that fraudsters also target bank machines and the customers using them. That style of quick-stop banking has become commonplace these days, and the underworld continues trying to devise equipment that can take advantage.

Thus, keeping a watchful eye out for suspicious activity involving these machines is a good idea. But it’s also crucial for customers to proceed with caution when using them to guard their PIN numbers.

Keeping a wary eye while doing transactions should be a habit.

Geographic location: Halifax

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