BY NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
FINANCIAL Services Minister Brent Symonette said yesterday that Bahamians will have to exercise greater "caution" when utilising ATMs, calling the recent Royal Bank of Canada "skimming" incident "unfortunate".
Mr Symonette said that while the incident was "unfortunate" it should be put in perspective.
"It's not something unusual, it happens in a number of places," he said.
"I think what we need to do is, as The Bahamas moves forward and it's more difficult to go to a bank and cash a cheque, we have to be more vigilant. It's unfortunate but I think patrons will just have to have more caution when using the ATMs."
RBC confirmed earlier this week that some of its Bahamian Visa debit and Visa credit card holders had fallen victim to "skimming", with some irate customers reporting "thousands of dollars" having been wiped off their accounts.
Jacqueline Taggart, RBC's director of strategic and corporate communications for the Caribbean, responding to Tribune Business inquiries, said: "RBC confirms that we have identified a skimming incident that has victimised a number of our VISA debit and VISA credit cards in The Bahamas in a coordinated and aggressive criminal effort. We are now in the process of contacting clients who have been affected.
"To contain this fraudulent activity, RBC has implemented restrictions on all affected VISA cards. We know that at this time of year - with vacations and back-to-school expenses - these restrictions may inconvenience our clients and we will work with them to minimise the disruption. All affected cards will be replaced as soon as possible."
It is unclear how many people may have been affected by this skimming attack. Skimming refers to the use of fraudulent methods to obtain customer details by "skimming' their debit and credit cards at point of use, whether ATM or point of sale.