T&T bankers want tougher penalties for ATM fraud

Sunday, June 03, 2018

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Bankers Association of Trinidad & Tobago (BATT) has expressed disappointment at the “comparatively lenient penalties” imposed on several people here who sought to defraud the several banks using the automated teller machines (ATM).

While it praised law enforcement authorities for their quick action in recent bank ATM frauds, the BATT said that it “is however disappointed in the comparatively lenient penalties imposed on those convicted of fraud, which we understand is largely attributable to the inadequacy of the governing legislation under which charges can be laid and enforced”.

At least four people were charged with ATM fraud in which an empty envelope was deposited following which monies were withdrawn.

Media reports said that since May 18 an estimated 4,000 empty envelopes were deposited in a commercial bank's ATMs across the country. It is a scheme which takes advantage of a glitch in that bank's system which allows customers to withdraw money from cheques immediately after they make deposits.

But the BATT said it wanted to remind the public that security measures are in place to track all banking transactions, where persons can and will be identified if any acts of fraud are committed.

“Our member banks have always given high priority to safeguarding customers' deposits and will continue to invest in systems and technology to provide a secure banking infrastructure.”

The banking association said that given the changing global landscape and the heightened use of electronic banking systems, it is again calling for the outstanding provisions of the Electronic Transaction Act 2011 to be proclaimed.

“Where necessary, that Act may also require some amendment to incorporate where the cardholder uses their own card to commit fraud. BATT would welcome the opportunity to work with the authorities to develop any necessary legislation.”

BATT said that it hopes in the interim the penalties imposed will be a sufficient deterrent.

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