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Trinidadians told ‘don’t panic’

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Trinidadians told ‘don’t panic’

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad  – The Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) today told the public not to panic after banks operating here uncovered a scam involving the illegal removal of cash from their customers through the use of Automatic Teller Machines (ATM).
BATT president Richard Young, speaking on radio, said that several customers had been affected after their accounts were targeted by people who used technology to capture information from their cards and used them at ATMs to withdraw money.
“We have started working with the authorities, with the police and there will be another meeting this afternoon …in terms of how we could move towards making contact with these people that we would like to talk to.
“I believe we are on top of it and I want to re-assure the public it is not a question of any bank computer system being hacked into or any of this sort and I want to apologise again to those people who we have really caused some inconvenience.
“But you know this phenomenon is not unique to Trinidad and Tobago. It is something that is worldwide and I believe that as an industry locally we have moved fairly quickly and have dealt with it.” Young said.
According to the BATT, at least six people were picked up by the surveillance cameras and that the authorities were now trying to contact them.
While the banks would not disclose the amount of cash withdrawn from the accounts of their customers, Young said that the banks had to block of a number of ATM cards by customers in order to prevent illegal use of their accounts.
“We are in the process of replacing those cards so my suggestion to the public is that if you cannot access your account either through the ATM or internet banking or you have seen some transactions that you are not aware of please contact your bank and make arrangements to go in and have a hcat with them.
“In fact funds have been taken out without your approval, the bank will certainly investigate, we have a good sense of which accounts and we will certainly make arrangements to have you reimbursed. So there is no need to panic,” he told radio listeners.
Young said while the banks have identified “the areas of breach and have moved to close that off so that it would not happen again”, but it would be difficult to say if the thieves would not try to attack the banks again. (CMC)
Young said the banks have no evidence of a regional or international ring operating the scam “at this stage”.