Police have identified two unnamed suspects in last weekend’s fraud cases that targeted automatic teller machines (ATMs) at commercial banks.
They today released the photographs of two men – believed to be foreign nationals – who were caught on security cameras at ATMs apparently withdrawing money from customers’ accounts unknown to them.
The Royal Barbados Police Force’s official spokesman Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss, said in a news release that the police wanted the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the two “persons of interest”.
Both suspects are wearing caps, but one of them was also wearing a face mask.
“The public is asked to be on the lookout for these individuals who are suspects in a number of reported cases of ATM fraud,” said Acting Inspector Inniss.
“If seen you are asked to IMMEDIATELY contact the Criminal Investigation Department at 430-7189/9019 Police Emergency at 211, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477(TIPS) or the nearest police station.”
Over the weekend numerous bank accounts were hit by undisclosed withdrawals from at least three different banks.
As soon as it was discovered by customers that their money had gone, police stations were bombarded by complaints from the victims.
The RBPF confirmed yesterday that they had received reports from clients that their accounts had been “hacked” and their money had gone.
One female victim said when she went to a banking machine on Sunday to check her account, she realised no money was there.
“Which was very strange,” she said, “because up until Saturday, we realised there was a certain amount of money. So yesterday morning [Sunday] after going to get something to eat, we realise there was no money on the account.”
The customer said the startling discovery was made when she went to her bank at Scotiabank in Rockley to make a withdrawal.
She said this prompted her to go home and check online to see what transactions were done.
“That’s when we found out that the person who did it, took the money from [Republic Bank] at Limegrove. So I want you guys to pass this on and be very careful. There were so many people in Scotiabank… and we thought we were the only people going in there complaining,” the fraud victim said in a voicenote posted via WhatsApp.
She reported that she went back and forth between bank and police station in order to submit a written statement on her misfortune.
“When we were done in the police station, I found out that First Caribbean was also hit and also [Republic Bank]. And just before we came out of the office an elderly couple came in with their daughter…the daughter came to make a report…and said their [parents’] pension was taken off too…from separate accounts. So you guys have to be careful,” the customer cautioned.
A victim said in a text message received by Barbados TODAY: “Letting everyone know that our Scotiabank account was hacked over the weekend,” adding that transactions were made at an ATM in Holetown and a point-of-sale location in Speightstown.
Yesterday, The Barbados Bankers Association (TBBA) issued a statement on the matter saying it had “been made aware of an issue involving the use of ATMs at several commercial banks.
“The matter is currently in the hands of the police and the TBBA will make a further statement once their investigations are completed.”
The bankers urged their clients to contact their bank if they suspect any unauthorized use of their accounts.