Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays Banks have filed reports with the Botswana Police Service following incidents of security breach that led to theft from customers’ accounts.
Detective Senior Superintendent, Victor Mabina, of the Serious Crime Squad, told Sunday Standard in interview that, “It is true that my office is investigating some cases that involve debit card fraud.”
Mabina says that “this is a new trend in Botswana and is the first time we investigate such kind of fraud”.
“Standard Chartered Bank was the first bank to report the credit card fraud in which 18 customers were defrauded. Barclays Bank has, on the other hand, reported over 20 cases of such criminal acts”, adding that “the investigations are still ongoing and we have not arrested any culprit yet”.
Mabina said chances of tracing the culprits will be very difficult because the countries that are involved are non English speaking, so it takes a long time to get around the communication barrier.
Recently, some bank customer’s allegedly found their accounts cleaned out by criminals and most of the transactions were conducted from overseas, as far as India and Ukraine.
The kind of fraud that these customers fell victim to is called card skimming and basically involves criminal gangs using highly sophisticated electronic equipment to set up and operate their own ATMs.
The gangs rig the ATM by affixing a false card slot over the original card slot. A skimming device in that contraption slot captures card details from the magnetic strip and transmits that information wirelessly to the criminals who would be sitting in a parked car nearby.
The PIN is stolen by way of a telescopic camera angled to view the monitor and keypad and transmit wireless photographs of ATM PIN entries.
This camera, which has its own battery and transmission antenna, can transmit to up to 200 metres. Armed with this information, the skimmers are able to clone an exact replica of a customer’s card and use it to steal money.