Banks on alert over ATM fraud
Manama, December 12, 2013
Banks in Bahrain have been put on high alert amid fears of a rise in ATM fraud.
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) yesterday issued a circular warning all financial institutions to be vigilant of skimming devices, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It comes after it was notified of several cases involving debit and credit cards in an unnamed "regional country".
Mirco-devices were reportedly attached to ATMs, which have the ability to copy cards and record the pins of users.
"The Central Bank of Bahrain has been notified of a number of incidents of ATM frauds involving the debit and credit cards of different banks which are subjected to skimming, in one country in the region recently," said the CBB statement.
"The CBB wishes to warn banks to remain vigilant to such attempts of skimming at ATMs and ensure that adequate security and other pre-emptive measures are taken to ensure the safety of ATM debit/credit card users and prevent any incidents of skimming."
Banks have been urged to review their transaction authorisation mechanisms in the wake of the cases and issue alerts about withdrawals from their accounts.
Bahrain Association of Banks chief executive Robert Ainey urged people not to panic.
"Skimming can happen in Bahrain but there are two measures that will either stop or limit fraudsters from getting access to your money: firstly, whenever a transaction is made people will receive text messages to inform them - so anyone who pay attention to those can block their cards if they notice any unusual activity," he said.
"Secondly, there are chips on the cards that make it much more difficult to copy.
"The CBB are just issuing a warning to stop any problems from happening."
Ainey said fraudsters often attach small card readers that wirelessly transmit the card information to a nearby laptop, while a small camera records the user keying in their pin numbers.
He added most of the information is usually sold on nefarious websites, which is why most false transactions will not happen in the country where the card was scanned. - TradeArabia News Service