BRIDGETOWN - Barbadians have experienced a flurry of Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) fraud in recent times, which seem to have quieted, but are they ready for point-of-sale terminal fraud?

Criminals can insert malicious software into a company's point-of-sale (POS) system. The malware surreptitiously records credit and debit card information when customers swipe them through payment terminals. It later sends the card information to the thieves.

Consumers can try to protect themselves by looking for retailers that have enabled chip-based credit and debit card use on their POS terminals. These are much more secure than magnetic stripe cards.

Some banks and other financial institutions in Barbados have moved on to the the more secure chip-based cards and contactless "smart cards" for its Visa cardholders. These cards, however, are still backward compatible so as to be used at POS terminals who have not upgraded to the contactless system and can still pose a problem.

These upgraded cards are suppose to use radio-frequency identification (RFID) for making secure payments.

Can the card be skimmed through fraud?

For every contactless transaction, a unique, one-time code is used to verify the payment. This code changes every time you pay. In the unlikely event of compromised data, this one-time code will allow the bank or credit union that issued you the card to identify those transactions as fraudulent.