Beware of ATM skimming this festive season

Credit Cards

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Extra vigilance this time of year when using ATMs, and with circulation of counterfeit currency
  • Banks encouraged to check their ATMs regularly

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Grenada is advocating extra vigilance this time of year regarding personal financial information when using Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs).

Particularly around the carnival season, ATM scams have been known to take place involving the use of devices such as credit card scanners that can steal personal financial information to conduct illicit activities.

The illegal practice is called ATM skimming, and the device is made to be attached to an ATM with the intention of secretly stealing information when credit or debit cards are swept in the ATM.

Director of the FIU, Tafawa Pierre says this can be easily avoided once people take the necessary precautions. “The incidence of ATM skimming is much more real because you have people coming back and forth and the opportunity for that is very obvious. What we always say is that people remain very vigilant when using an ATM and look out for any suspicious devices affixed to the ATM.”

Banks are also being encouraged to check their ATMs regularly during the carnival season. “We advise the banks and other financial institutions that provide ATM services to ensure that their cameras are working properly and [they] are checking the system daily so that they can detect anything suspicious. There the FIU can intervene and investigate bearing in mind that we have a high success rate of arrests.”

Another illegal phenomenon around the festive season is the circulation of counterfeit currency. “Because it’s a busy season people get an opportunity to circulate them, so we are asking people to at least keep some large genuine notes so that they can make a comparison.”

People are being encouraged to report any incidence of ATM skimming to the nearest police station or to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

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