Shoulder Surfing

Shoulder Surfing

'Shoulder surfing' is where observation techniques, such as looking over your shoulder, are used to obtain personal information from you.

Thieves often do this to find out your PIN when you’re entering it at an ATM. Once they have that, they distract you to steal your debit card and withdraw as much of your money as possible as fast as they can. That could be hundreds or even thousands of euros.

How scammers do it

  • While you’re withdrawing money from an ATM,  prying eyes are looking over your shoulder to try and steal your debit card PIN.
  • The moment you’re withdrawing cash from the machine, scammers distract you by telling you there’s a banknote lying on the ground. While you’re bending down to pick it up, they grab your debit card from the ATM.
  • In the confusion that follows, they tell you that your card’s been retained by the machine and offer to to let you use their phone to call Card Stop and stop your card. 

However, you’re not actually talking to Card Stop but rather their accomplice who tells you that your card has been blocked.

Once in possession of your card and PIN, scammers can easily raise your card limits and plunder your account.

Protect yourself against shoulder surfing


  • Don’t let yourself get distracted at an ATM.
  • Always shield the hand entering your PIN with your other hand.
  • Never enter your PIN at someone else’s request.
  • Make sure no-one can look over your shoulder and that those waiting behind you keep their distance.
  • Never let someone you don’t know ‘help’ you at an ATM.
  • Be on your guard when using your debit card and PIN, as scammers will try anything and anywhere to mislead you.
  • If things still go wrong and your card is lost, stolen or retained, contact Card Stop using KBC Brussels Mobile or call Card Stop yourself on +32 78 170 170 and never let someone else call the number for you.

Stolen, lost or retained card

  • Contact Card Stop using KBC Brussels Mobile. Tap the card you want to block, select 'Card Stop' and follow the instructions.
  • Call Card Stop yourself on +32 78 170 170 and never let someone else call the number for you.
  • Call Secure4u.