Livia Herkova says she is out hundreds of dollars following a bank card scam.

Herkov said her bank called her on Monday morning with the news that her account had been blocked. They told her that her account had been completely wiped out, and the money trail led to somewhere in Malaysia.

"I was just kind of lucky that I still had something at home to give my daughter for lunch or something," she said.


Livia Herkova's bank got in touch Monday morning to say her account had been blocked by fraudsters. (CBC)

"I don't know what ...  I will do in the afternoon or in evening for dinner or anything because it's just a bad dream"

And Herkov is not the only Edmontonian who's received the the nasty surprise over the past week.

Customers of several different financial institutions have reported similar losses, which police are blaming on a bank card scheme known as "skimming" — when a legitimate pin pad is swapped for a tampered machine.

As a measure to help prevent future waves of debit card skimming, Edmonton police have started passing out plastic cards to local businesses to use as a security check.

The cards have a guideline printed on them to show how far the card should be inserted into a debit card reader.

"If [the card reader] has been tampered with, it’s going to go in much deeper," said Det. Bill Allen.

Police are also advising debit card users to cover the pin pad entering their personal pin code.

And, they say, fraud prevention and education initiatives like these seem to be working.

Across the country, losses due to debit card fraud have dropped from a high of $142 million in 2009 to $38.5 million in 2012.

And as for Herkov, her bank says it will cover the stolen money, but it might take up to a week.