Categorized | National News

Credit Card Fraud Increases

The number of victims affected by credit card fraud is on the rise with nearly $100,000 being defrauded within a period of six months, according to officers, who recently warned that criminals are developing new strategies and are using the latest technologies in an effort to steal identities and store credit card information.

Officers from the Business and Technology Crimes Section (BTCS) said they have received 16 credit card fraud complaints between the period January and June amounting to some $99,205.99 being from defrauded from victims.

This is a staggering increase when compared to the seven cases reported within the first six months of last year that amounted to over $33,000 worth of stolen fund.

Five matters were solved in 2013.

Officers are also seeing a new trend emerge as it relates to debit and ATM cards. Victims reported that the cards were in their possession when the alleged withdrawals were made.

But, BTCS head, Inspector Debra Thompson said they are ways people can safeguard themselves from becoming a victim.

“When you go to these different merchants you want to make sure that you have eye contact on your card and that any charges to your credit card are done in your presence. I suggest that you be the one to use your credit card to swipe into the merchant’s credit card system as opposed to the employee walking away out of your view with the card,” she said.

“If you have not done so yet, you’d also want to sign up for online banking with your financial institution, so that you can monitor you accounts on a regular basis and when you see any instance of fraudulent activity, you are to report it to your financial institution and the police department. This would help us determine a trend and detect those matters much quickly. What we also recommend for business employees – whenever they process a credit card transaction and if they have any reason to suspect that the credit card may be fraudulent, compare the last four digits on the card being presented against the four digits on the receipts, you will find nine times out of 10 they will not match.”

CDU Chief Superintendent Paul Rolle added that it is also important to ensure that the name on the credit card matches what is on the receipt.

But he acknowledged that despite this precaution, criminals are using false identification cards matching the victim’s name from the stolen credit cards.

So far, officers have only recovered one skimmer, a device used to store and reuse a victim’s information for the year.

Inspector Thompson also offered a few tips to merchants in an effort to better protect their businesses and aid in the fight against credit card fraud. Business owners, she said must be on the lookout for these fake gift cards.

“For merchants, what we suggest is speak to you financial institutions and learn the security features of a genuine credit card. You want to be able to know what those features are and train your employees as to what to look for in a genuine credit card. We are also asking that you insist your employees get proper identification from the individuals who are presenting these credit cards. If a card is suspicious and it doesn’t have an account holder name on it or a credit card number, they should not be accepting those cards – this is something that can be fraudulent,’ she said.

“We are asking the general public – specifically those merchants out there who sell electronic items, cell phones, the liquor stores – to pay careful attention to the individual who is presenting the card that has no credit card number listed on it and no name. The only thing it says is gift card or it may have a visa logo on it. That’s a tell-tale sign that the individual may be presenting a fraudulent card according to our investigations.”

Constable Donald Rolle further explained exactly how criminals are manufacturing these fake credit cards and stealing identities.

All the information on a credit card, he said is stored on a magnetic strip. If a perpetrator obtains a credit card, he or she will swipe the card through the skimmer and obtain all the information on the credit card.

He added that a blank credit card will then be swiped through the same device transfer the victims’ information to the new cards, which are actually manufactured to look like credit cards.

According to officers, so far 19 people have been arrested this year in connection to credit card fraud and 16 people have been charged. Officials suspect that the group is part of a much larger ring.

An individual can spend up to five years in prison if charged and convicted for fraud in a magistrates court.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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