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Shoulder Surfing/Credit Card Scams

When someone steals your personal information by “looking over your shoulder” in a public place. 

How it works

Here are some of the ways shoulder surfers can access your private data:

  • while watching you in a line while you fill out a form
  • while you use your credit or debit card at an ATM or debit machine
  • while you text or talk to someone on your office or cell phone
  • while using public Wi-Fi networks

How to protect yourself

Take care to protect your personal identification number (PIN) when using your debit card at an ATM or a store, and never share your PIN with anyone. When in a public setting, cover your paperwork, computer or cellphone screens from others’ view and consider sitting with your back against a wall. Better yet, banking and financial transactions would be better performed on your home network instead of through public WiFi. Use two-factor authentication or biometrics (like fingerprint identification) or look into a password manager to add an extra layer of protection to your password management. Do not share your credit card information over the phone or through email – particularly if you do not know the caller or the sender. Scam artists will try many different tricks to make you think they are a legitimate bank, government department or company. Most companies will not request this kind of personal financial information over the phone, through text or email. 

How to report it

If you suspect you’re a victim of shoulder surfing, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and your local police or RCMP. You should also notify your financial institution and the credit reporting bureaus Equifax and TransUnion.

FCNB is responsible for the administration, education and enforcement of provincial legislation that regulates securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions and certain consumer services. If your complaint relates to an area outside of FCNB’s regulated areas, we may refer you to the appropriate reporting agency or organization.