Experts advise on e-crime

cyber-crime_4By Letuka Chafotsa

MASERU — Absa Bank and Barclays Africa engaged the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) and the Central Bank of Lesotho who are the law enforcement agencies on e-crime at a two-day training seminar held last week.

The seminar, which was held in Maseru, also created both staff and customer awareness to detect banking fraud.

It also advised on how to draft proper legislation on e-crime and efficiently investigate card skimming.

The Barclays Africa initiated training was facilitated by LMPS and the Central Bank of Lesotho.

Representatives from Barclays Africa, Head of Absa Bank Specialist Investigations Harry Van Cittert and Head of African Forensic Investigations, Bruno Schiemsky facilitated the training with assistance from investigators from Absa Bank, First National Bank and Standard Bank based in South Africa.

Schiemsky and Harry said following complaints, investigations carried out locally and abroad by Barclays Africa’s Forensics Department proved that Auto Teller Machine (ATM) card holders have been victims of card skimming which involves unauthorised cash withdrawals from clients’ accounts.

They revealed that fraudsters had withdrawn cash from local accounts using ATMs in Lesotho and in other countries.

Law enforcement agencies were trained on how the criminals succeed in accessing another person’s bank account and robbing them of their savings.

Harry and Schiemsky explained that, “usually genuine customers are not vigilant when using ATMs and the general practice is to distract them or spy on them to obtain their Personal Identification Number (PIN)”.

“They then go on, with the help of engineers, to reproduce an ATM card bearing the same PIN number which they can then use anytime and anywhere in the world,” he added.

Schiemsky further said, “another method is the use of sophisticated high technology skimming devices which can be concealed in the form of cigarette lighters, watches, mobile phones and other handy objects to read information on an ATM card from a distance”.

“Tiny conventional cameras are also placed at ATM machines for the same purpose, and are removed when the fraudulent transaction is over,” he continued.

Barclays Africa presenters also gave profiles of fraudsters, describing them as intelligent and alert individuals often with good strategic contacts.

“They are usually well informed on bank and police operations, and have access to useful information, for example about stolen cards,” said Schiemsky.

However, some banks have already taken measures to counter skimming.

“Fraudulent card detectors are already in use in certain banks and jitters which cause the card to vibrate and become unreadable when inserted into an ATM can also be installed”, Harry and Schiemsky advised.

“The anti-fraud specialists have insisted though that much more needs to be done in order to combat this modern form of crime.”

Banks could increase security checks at ATMs, keep the machines clean in order to detect residue glue from removed devices, ensure that CCTV cameras are properly installed and positioned, share information among them and inform clients by Short Message Service as soon as a transaction has been performed on their accounts.

“Even if banks could be held responsible in case of such fraudulent actions, unless if the card holder has compromised the PIN code.

“Customers are also being called to be more vigilant,” both Harry and Schiemsky said.

They added that: “One must never let his/her card go out of hand, not even when settling a bill.”

This is because it has been proven that in certain countries employees of shops, restaurants, bars and other public establishments are paid to skim ATM and credit cards.

Meanwhile, the Bankers Association of Lesotho indicated that they will be launching training on e-crime next week Monday at one of the local hotels to provide the public and their clients with knowledge on how clients can cushion themselves against e-crime.

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