Payment card fraud, including ATM transactions in Barbados, are worrying security investigators in the Caribbean and they plan to take up the matter with crime-fighting agencies locally and regionally.
“The incidence of card fraud is high . . . . It is something that is a major concern. It is something that we will be discussing with external stakeholders, such as Crime Stoppers, to see how best we can get support from them, and how best we can support them in our pursuit to making the banking environment a safer place for all our customers,” regional director and chief security officer for the Security and Investigation Department of Scotiabank in the Eastern Caribbean, Denver Frater, told Barbados TODAY.
“The incidence of identity theft is on the rise, but as it relates to card fraud, Barbados is not at the level where one can refer to it as alarming; but it is still a matter of concern,” advised Frater.
The investigator said he had found that most customers were not taking the appropriate precautionary measures to avoid their identities being stolen.
Asked to put a dollar figure on identity theft, Frater said he could not.
“Most of these incidences are not reported right away; so you cannot directly connect it to a particular situation. But based on experiences and information gathered from financial institutions, it is a major concern,” he indicated.
“And what we have found [is] most of our customers, due to reckless use of their cards, and not taking the appropriate precautionary [measures], allow for their information to get stolen; and this resulted in significant activity around identity theft in the region,” the chief security officer revealed.
Frater disclosed that payment cardholders were committing “unpardonable” acts such as sharing their personal information with others.
“You don’t share your personal information with persons. You treat your card as if it is cash. In using ATM machines, you do not practise leaving your receipts behind. Although it might look like not much information is there, it might be that missing piece that the fraudsters are looking for,” he explained.
He was concerned, too, that people were using easy-to-remember personal information numbers, particularly for ATM cards.
“Use numbers that one is not easy to guess,” Frater warned.
He disclosed that his agency would soon play a greater role in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean with respect to investigation of financial crimes.
Regarding the kind of support currently being provided, Frater said: “It is primarily around security and investigation. The safety and security of our customers, the bank, the assets and the environment in which Scotiabank does business.
“We also work with law enforcement agencies in providing external and internal support, where necessary,” he added. (EJ)