By MSN NZ Money staff
Thousands of people's credit card details have been stolen by thieves who hacked into cash machines at a carpark in Auckland.
Thieves have targeted the Downtown carpark for a long time, possibly even years according to the New Zealand Herald.
Tens of thousands of credit cards could have been placed at risk and need to be replaced.
It is unknown whether the thieves are local or from overseas as they could have attached a skimming device to the payment machines or hacked into the devices' credit-card database internally from anywhere in the world.
Police were alerted to the illegal operation when banking systems picked up that the Auckland City Council-owned carpark was a common point of purchase on fraudulent card transactions.
Westpac Bank is investigating the fraud and media relations manager Craig Dowling said potentially affected cards were being proactively replaced as a precautionary measure.
"Should any credit card holders notice any irregular credit-card transactions on their account, we ask they contact their bank directly," Mr Dowling said.
Generally, banks and credit card companies do not make customers liable for fraudulent transactions.
The council has stopped accepting payment through the machine credit-card facilities at the Downtown carpark, as well as the Victoria St and Aotea carparks, which they also own.
Drivers can still pay by credit card at the cashiers' booths.
Westpac, Mastercard, Visa and other service providers are dealing with the issue.
Only 10 days ago the Auckland City police financial crime unit warned users of cash machine to watch out for another round of "skimming" as three incidents where devices were attached to ATMs and security details of customers had been acquired were reported.
The ATMs were in Ponsonby Rd, Karangahape Rd and in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale.
Tips to avoid credit card fraud
1. Don’t let your credit card out of your sight watch the transaction take place
2. Never give your card to anyone who calls and asks for it or never respond to emails that request you provide your credit card info via email
3. Don't give out your details on a website that isn’t a secure site
4. Never leave your card unsigned sign it as soon as you get it
5. Don't write your PIN number on your credit card or carry it in your wallet
6. Shield your credit card number so that it can't be copied or captured on a mobile phone
7. Only carry around cards that you absolutely need
8. Scrutinise all bills and make sure charges are correct and immediately report any you don’t recognise
9. If your credit cards are lost or stolen, contact the issuer(s) immediately
10. Never lend your card to anyone
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