Barbados and other regional tourism destinations are facing increasing threat from ATM fraud.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Irene Sandiford-Garner issued the warning to tourism stakeholders this morning while addressing the 9th Annual Multi-Hazard Disaster Management Symposium at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael.
“Let us be ever mindful of the evolving threats facing us as a tourism destination; I speak in this instance of ATM fraud. It was in May last year a local daily newspaper reported that global trends suggested that fraud was on the increase especially in tourism destinations.
“It was only a mere five months later, in October of last year, when police in Barbados arrested two Bulgarians at the Grantley Adams International Airport with close to Bds$500 000 stuffed everywhere on their persons and in their luggage. The police also seized laptops and card readers believed to be used in . . . those crimes. This is one of the changing faces of threats to Barbados. It is for this reason that our symposium will also feature a presentation from Crime Stoppers Barbados,” Garner added.
The parliamentary secretary told the gathering that approximately 0.5 per cent of the 90,000 Americans attending the FIFA World Cup in Brazil had been struck by ATM fraud.
Garner reported an incident in which a visitor, on arriving at Rio International Airport in that country, decided to use his credit card to withdraw cash only to discover that his card had been cloned.
The government senator went on to say that three days later, the unfortunate visitor discovered that US$12,000 were missing from his credit card account.
“Now that is a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. It does not matter what economic or social level you are at. Twelve thousand dollars out of pocket is a major disaster,” Garner said.