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ATM Scam Busted in Bali

Estimated 200 Customers Affected by Rp. 2 Billion ATM Scam Centered in Bali.

(1/25/2010) Police in Bali and Jakarta are questioning a number of suspects in a scam that has fleeced larges sums of money from the bank accounts of people who used Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in Bali.

The well-organized and sophisticated criminals reportedly installed an additional fake slot on an ATM Machine together with a small CCTV camera that recorded the password entered by the ATM customer. Armed with the stolen magnetic strip information and the "secret" password the thieves were able to visit the bank accounts and steal funds now estimated to total Rp. 2 billion (US$200,000) from some 200 separate accounts .

The 200 customers who have reported lost funds were customers of the following banks: Bank Central Asia (BCA), Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), Bank Mandiri, Bank Permata, Bank International and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI).

Police have indicated that the fraud may have involved people living in Russia, Canada and Australia.

It is not clear how many ATMs were used in the fraud or if the case originates from a single machine shared by customers of the aforementioned banks.

Moves to Prevent Panic

In order to prevent widespread panic among banking customers, Bank Indonesia coordinated a meeting between the news media and Bali banks on Thursday, January 21, 2010.

At that meeting, the high tech modus operandi of the ATM thieves was explained to the press, a method which may have included hidden surveillance cameras that captured the passwords of bank customers.

A Bank Central Asia (BCA) and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) representative attending the meeting said that it will take between 10-14 working days to reimburse the loss of their customers affected by the scam.

Steps You Can Take to Protect your ATM Account.

Banking officials are recommending the following steps to protect your ATM and credit card accounts:

Customers should change their PIN numbers on a periodic basis.

Cover your hand with your free hand when entering your PIN number.

Do not disclose your PIN number to others.

Don't respond to people posing as bank officials or emails supposedly sent from your bank asking for your PIN number.

Pay attention to the physical condition of your ATM machine, looking for suspicious additions or changes in the machine or the surrounding environment. When in doubt, report your suspicions and take your transaction to another ATM location.

Keep an eye on your ATM and credit card. Ask merchants that the card be swiped in your presence and beware of machines that do not resemble a standard EDC (Electronic Data Capture) machine.

Inspect your credit cards or, if unsure, call you bank and ask if they are using embedded chips on your credit card. These are now a requirement for Indonesian credit card companies and largely prevent the illegal use of your card by "card swiping schemes."