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NBI working with bank officials to identify gang behind ATM scam

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Banks whose customers have fallen prey to an international syndicate which duplicates their automated teller machine (ATM) cards and captures their personal identification number (PIN), allowing the gang to withdraw money from the victims’ bank accounts, have promised to cooperate with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Vic Lorenzo, executive officer of the NBI cyber crimes unit, said they had began talking with bank representatives to address the “card-skimming” operation which started in 2011 and became more rampant last year.

“The banks said they would cooperate to catch and arrest the scammers,” Lorenzo added.

He said they consider the meeting with bank representatives a breakthrough for the case because bank officials are usually hesitant to give details about any of their clients’ accounts.

Lorenzo said the banks’ cooperation was very vital to the NBI’s efforts to identify the local members of the international syndicate.

“We need data and pertinent details from the transacting banks to have a complete investigation,” he added.

According to him, the group’s latest victim was a young woman who lost P150,000. She found out that someone had taken the amount from her ATM account five days after she made a withdrawal.

“These people are fast and will wipe out every centavo they can take from your account,” Lorenzo said.

He urged account owners to continue to put up personal safety measures to guard their money although he added that overall, ATM transactions were still safe.

“Just to be on the safe side, cover the keyboard when you punch in your PIN,” he said.

“Even if they could copy the details of your card and accounts, without the PIN, the information is useless,” Lorenzo explained.

Millions of pesos have been lost to the syndicate which installs card readers on ATM machines that capture the user’s PIN and other card details.  The gang then duplicates the card and withdraws the victim’s money.

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Tags: ATM , Banking , Crime , NBI , theft

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