A FOREIGN gang of 'skimmers' is targeting ticket vending machines at rail stations in the latest attack on unsuspecting consumers.
Criminals are using a new type of skimming equipment at station vending machines in an attempt to capture debit and credit card details and PINS from cardholders, according to the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO).
DART and Dublin suburban train stations have been targeted in recent weeks – with at least three known cases including an incident at Booterstown DART station and Dun Laoghaire reported.
The latest attack – the first of its kind against ticket vending machines – comes as figures reveal a 24pc increase in the level of credit and debit card fraud in Ireland this year.
According to Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins, card fraud cost the Irish economy more than €25m last year, with 90pc of the fraud taking place without the card being present by using the card number either online or over the phone.
The latest scam was first spotted by a keen-eyed rail worker at Booterstown DART station.
"The gang tried to distract the rail official while they attempted to attach a device to the vending machine. We reported it to the gardai and supplied them with CCTV images," said Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny.
Irish Rail had since briefed staff throughout its Dublin rail network about the incident.
Card payment watchdog IPSO said it involved a non-Irish criminal gang using sophisticated skimming machines to capture credit and debit card details.
It warned that this kind of activity would most likely escalate in the run up to Christmas when a larger number of people than usual would be travelling to towns and cities.
"While the banks have secured ATMs from skimming attacks, criminals are now using a new type of skimming equipment at unattended payment machines for the same purpose," said a spokeswoman.
This involved attempts to capture debit and credit card details along with PIN numbers and may involve the use of micro-cameras and "shoulder surfing", where gang members stick close to the unsuspecting card user to spot their PIN.
IPSO and Irish Rail said the advice to card users was simple – cover the PIN pad when keying in the number.