Police are uncertain just how much money might have been
stolen over the weekend in ATM scams.
And while they are still trying to verify the fraud, Barbados
bankers have been telling Bajans their moneys are safe.
Barbados Bankers Association president Horace Cobham
gave the assurance this afternoon against the backdrop of
reports by some bank customers over the weekend that their
accounts had been drained of funds –– and not by them.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY via telephone, Cobham
said while he could not say that the crime would not happen
again, once banks had identified the source of the tampering,
they would take corrective action.
“We want to assure people there is no need to be fearful and
to panic. Crime is getting more sophisticated; so I’m not saying
it won’t happen again, because it happens every day all over the
world . . . and you can’t ever guarantee the crime will not be
“But having identified how the crimes are being committed, then
we can put measures in place to prevent them, in the interests
of our clients,” the banker added.
The Bankers Association president said details of the incident
on Saturday were still fuzzy, so he could not say which banks
were targeted, since multiple machines were used to get money
out. He added though that the banks were working closely with
the Royal Barbados Police Force and feeding them information as
it came to pinpointing the source methodology used.
The market head of Royal Bank of Canada further
encouraged clients of all banks to check their accounts to see if
there were any unidentifiable activity, and, if so,
contact their banks.
He stressed: “We want to deal with this issue and identify
the source, but it is also in the interests of our clients to protect
themselves. ATM manufacturers are coming up with new ways
of preventing scamming, but the criminals may change the
methodology . . . . As changes occur, people find new
forms of fraud . . . .
“So clients too must remain vigilant to prevent a systematic fraud
scheme,” Cobham warned.
“Some people when using the ATM’s cover the keypad so
others cannot see their pins. If you are approaching a machine
and something looks suspicious do not use it. People must take
measures to prevent fraud.”
Cobham also noted the banks would enforce further
educational programmes aimed at informing clients on ways to
protect themselves against frauds and identifiable traits.
Police public relations officer Inspector David Welch told
Barbados TODAY that two Bulgarian suspects were
currently in custody assisting police with investigations. This as
authorities in neighbouring Antigua had reportedly nabbed a
third Bulgarian suspect in connection with the Barbados scams.
Welch said that on Saturday, October 5, a civilian noticed
questionable activity taking place in the Wildey, St Michael
area and brought it to the police’s attention. The men were
apprehended at the Grantley Adams International
Airport on Sunday.
Welch said their purpose on the island had not yet been
determined but revealed their capture was not a result of
the Barbados/Interpol link.