Electronic card fraud and identity theft in the Caribbean

Published: Monday, May 21, 2012 - 08:37:33 PM
by Jeff

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- There is a debit card identity theft beginning to severly affect the island and financial institutions are being alerted.

According to nationnews.com a meeting involving all banking institutions last Thursday, it was revealed that the accounts of 17 people had been tampered with and monies illegally withdrawn from several automatic teller machines (ATMs).

This form of identity theft is being referred to as "skimming". In card skimming schemes, thieves use a device to steal credit card information. For example, card skimming devices are often placed on ATMs or even held in the hands of waiters, store and even bank employees.

The card is run through what is called a skimmer which harnesses the name of card holder, account number expiration date, verification/CVV code, and even the PIN number.

Skimmer devices, it appears, can be purchased simply over the internet. They are small devices which can be installed by camouflage at an ATM, or carried on the person of the theif who might have reason to temporary be in possession of a card.

The counterfeit reader records all of the data on a credit, debit or ATM card as it passes through the skimmer.

Identity theft can be divided into two broad categories: Application fraud and account takeover.

One banking institution which has been seeking to inform its customers on how to conteract identity theft through following safe computing practices to protect information online, which includes being mindful of unsolicited emails asking for your password, Personal Identification Number (PIN), credit card, account numbers, etc.

Identity theft is also being reported in Jamaica where such cases are currently on the rise.

"Credit, debit and ID card theft is an islandwide problem now and we have arrested several bank tellers and supervisors, hotel workers and even gas station attendants who have been involved in these acts", stated Detective Sergeant Karen Harrison, who heads the Cybercrime Investigations and Research Unit. (jamaica gleaner)


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