Bankers caution public against ATM skimmers

Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - April 24, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Although banks are implementing certain measures to curb if not completely eradicate fraudulent incidents involving automated teller machines (ATMs), bankers are urging the public to be vigilant in withdrawing money or in transacting via the ATM.

Cebu Bankers Club (CBC) former president and spokesperson Prudencio Gesta said that the banks can only do so much in protecting depositors from being victimized by some technology-driven ATM skimming card devices, but cardholders should also be alert and be aware of the different strategies now targeting ATM users.

“We enjoin the ATM cardholders to be alert and sensitive to check the ATM of skimming card device which is attached to card entry slot. In normal ATM fascia, flashing card entry indicator can easily be seen but most skimming devices will obscure the flashing card entry indicator,” warned Gesta, who is also the first vice president and Visayas regional marketing head of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).

Gesta further warned that another type of device is being piggy backed onto the card reader, hence, depositor must check that no extra device is being glued in this area.

Sometimes, syndicates will place a brochure holder but with a pin hole camera installed to capture images of keypad and customers inputting their PINs.

Skimming devices are normally attached to ATMs during quiet periods, specifically early in the morning or late evening.

“Our bank as well as other banks, have hired additional roving security guards to make regular inspections on ATMs especially at night and in the morning. Operation officer and posted guards also inspect to ensure that no skimming attack will happen. Always use your hand to shield your PIN when entering it,” he said.

“We urged depositors to report any unusual appearance in the machine immediately to bank personnel, guard or PNP. Let's all be vigilant to reduce the risk of ATM fraud, which is also a worldwide problem,” Gesta stressed.

Earlier, Cebu provincial board member Jude Thaddeus Durano Sybico led the call to banks in taking serious steps in protecting depositors from high-tech forms of ATM fraud, which are not only happening in Cebu but all over the world.

The syndicates install card readers in ATMs that are able to capture details of ATM cards inserted into the machines. They also make use of small cameras that capture PIN codes as entered by bank clients.

Armed with these highly confidential details, the syndicates are able to produce duplicate cards and withdraw money from their victims’ accounts.

Cebu Bankers Club responded to this call, saying banks have already been advised to closely inspect ATM facilities regularly.

Banks usually check ATM ports at least thrice a week to check if terminals are in places not frequented by people.

Depositors are also advised to check the machines first before using them. /JMD (FREEMAN)

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