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RIGHT OF CENTRE: Be cautious, sound alarm

The Barbados Bankers’ Association

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It has been widely reported in the media that over the weekend before last, a substantial sum of money was stolen from automated teller machines (ATMs) across the island. 
This is an example of the type of fraud that is becoming more prevalent on a global level. It is called “skimming” and takes place when criminals obtain personal information from customers’ cards and use the information later to access customers’ accounts. 
Protecting our customers against fraud is of paramount importance to the financial services industry, and we have been working together to combat this activity.
Together with the police, we are focused on protecting our customers’ interests and detecting and arresting the criminals.
Customers should also be aware that if their bank notices any suspicious transactions, we will immediately block the debit or credit cards involved in order to prevent activity on the account while the matter is investigated.
This measure may be inconvenient for the affected customers but it is a critical step in ensuring that no further fraudulent activity takes place on customers’ accounts.
Customers whose cards are blocked will be contacted by their bank and replacement cards issued from their branch.
It is important that customers are vigilant  when using the ATMs.
Should customers notice any unauthorized activity on their accounts, they are urged to call or visit their respective banks at once, at which time they will be advised about the claim process.
We also outline some of the measures customers can take to minimize the risk of skimming. 
• Contact your bank immediately should your card become stuck in the ATM so that the card can be deactivated. 
• Customers are reminded to protect their PINs for debit and credit cards at all times, taking care not to allow anyone to watch when the PIN is being typed. 
• Never accept help at the ATM from anyone you do not know.
• Customers are also urged to be vigilant of their surroundings when at the ATM, and if unsure of their privacy at any ATM, they should leave and use another machine elsewhere.
It has also been suggested that customers should trust their instincts and if in doubt, use another machine somewhere else. Most importantly they should keep an eye on their accounts since it is important to be extremely cautious.   
The Bankers’ Association has assured customers that it is actively working with law enforcement to identify and block any attempts at tampering or fraud.
Horace Cobham, president of the group, said it was committed to protecting its customers’ interests and as a result, “We urge customers to monitor their accounts carefully and advise [banks]of any suspicious activity.”