BoT : Banks must not lower guards against ATM skimming 

The Bank of Thailand has advised commercial banks to install tighter security features to fight off skimmers and other bank frauds.

Warning by the central bank came after one commercial bank suspected that skimmers had been installed on 14 of its automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Bangkok.

The bank’s internal memo warning about ATM card skimming later went viral on the social media.

Pongsit Chaichatpornsuk, senior assistant president on financial crime prevention and safety of Siam Commercial Bank, admitted that the information on the social media has tarnished the bank’s reputation despite that the bank could stop the frauds swiftly and could contain the damage at limited level through cooperation with other bank members of the Thai Bankers Association.

Commenting on its internal circulation note posted on social media about its 14 ATMs fallen prey to skimmers, he said it was only a warning to members of the Thai Bankers Association to be on alert and to prevent possible skimming.

He said examination of ATMs fallen prey to skimmers and ATMs in the vicinities showed no damage yet to customers.

Mr Pongsit assured that if any customers fallen victims to skimmers, the bank was ready to return them money within 72 hours.

He said the detected bank frauds came from the same Chinese skimming gang which had earlier been arrested but with some members managed to escape and return again. All the bank’s ATMs are now safe to use and there is no skimming device in place.

But he advised customers to replace their old cards with chip cards to reduce risk from skimming device.

Mr Pongsit also explained that the skimming technique has changed. They selected crowded place, so they can steal lots of electronic information from ATM cards as well as debit and credit cards.

But he vowed that the bank would closely monitor skimming gangs around the clock, so bank customers can be confident in using its ATMs.

However, customers can themselves prevent information being stolen easily by covering passwords with their hands when keying in personal identification number (PIN) to gain access to their personal account.

They are also suggested to change their passwords every three months and not to leave their slips at the ATMs, which can be unsafe if the slips get into hands of skimming gangs.

Meanwhile, Ronadol Numnonda, Bank of Thailand’s Assistant Governor in charge of Supervision Group, said although card skimming frauds would show sign of decline after card users turned to using more secure chip cards, the central bank still has to caution commercial banks to come up with tighter security measures to stop the risk with the installation of new and securer features in their teller machines.

He said in addition to this, the National Security Council chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon was prepared to propose the cabinet a cyber security strategy bill to encourage both public and private sectors to realise the danger and threat of cyber crimes and to promote cooperation to prevent and stop the crimes at all risky channels from electronic transactions.