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Card skimmers steal money through ATMs at night in Ho Chi Minh City

Thursday, March 14, 2019, 22:50 GMT+7
Card skimmers steal money through ATMs at night in Ho Chi Minh City
People withdraw money from ATMs in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Residents across Ho Chi Minh City are reporting unapproved ATM withdrawals from their debit accounts, a situation reminiscent of a spree of thefts in late April 2018.

D.K.Tho, a local worker, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper he had VND8 million (US$344) withdrawn from his account on the night of March 10.

Tho received a total of four text messages from the bank that night, each of which informed that VND2 million ($86) had been withdrawn.

“I still had my card in my wallet. All of my savings was gone in just a couple of minutes,” the victim said.

After receiving a report from Tho, the bank said it would verify the case and would return the lost money if his card information had indeed been stolen by criminals.

D.D.Q., a local university student, faced a similar issue earlier this month.

“The money was stolen about 20 minutes after I withdrew some cash from an ATM booth. I only lost VND1 million [$43], but that’s a lot of money for a student like me,” Q. stated.

The young man added he reported the issue to his bank and was told to wait five to seven working days for the issue to be resolved.

In late April 2018, 12 Agribank cardholders reported unapproved ATM withdrawals over the course of a single night.

An Agribank representative told Tuoi Tre that the criminals had most likely installed skimming devices to steal customers’ information in order to gain access to their money.

A skimming device is a type of card reader which is often disguised to appear as part of the ATM.

The device saves the users' card number and pin code, which are then used by counterfeiters to make duplicate cards.

Agribank later reimbursed the victims for the stolen money.

In order to combat these types of criminals, lenders in Vietnam have been replacing existing magnetic stripe cards with chip cards.

In early 2016, the State Bank of Vietnam issued a plan that required local commercial banks to make the switch no later than December 31, 2020.

The process, however, has been rather sluggish due to cost concerns.

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