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ATM users being warned about Romanian scammers

Published:Monday | April 17, 2017 | 5:24 PMJason Cross

The police are once again appealing to ATM users to take precautionary measures when using the money outlets, especially now that Jamaica and other countries are being targeted by Romanian scammers.

Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the counter-terrorism branch, Clifford Chambers, told The Gleaner yesterday that his team would be working to apprehend the culprits. He is, however, urging ATM users to protect themselves from fraud.

"I implore everyone to ensure that when they are using the ATM, do their own physical, manual covering of the keypad so that when they are entering their PIN (personal identification number), it cannot be picked up by any other gadgets that might be attached to the machine," Chambers said.

"When you are entering your PIN, use something to cover it up. Until they have your PIN, they cannot do anything. They can clone the card, but they cannot access it unless they have your PIN."

He also advised users of smartphones to make use of their Bluetooth technology, which can be very helpful in detecting certain threats.

"If you have a smartphone, you can activate the Bluetooth on it, and if you enter the ATM and it is picking up any device from the machine itself, it means that that machine has been compromised. Don't use it!" explained Chambers.


Last week, two Romanians who were believed to be involved with an international ATM fraud operation were denied entry into the island.

Following that, airport and law-enforcement officials were alerted.

Jamaica appears not to be the only country currently impacted by the scammers.

"In the last couple of weeks, we have come up on evidence to substantiate that Romanians are in the country and are some of the major persons behind ATM fraud, where gadgets would be attached to ATMs across the island and persons would be skimmed out of their funds. As a result, airport authorities were put on alert," Chambers said.

"Last week Wednesday, we got a hit that Romanians were coming into the country and, as a result, our regional counterparts were contacted. We were reliably informed that these persons were involved with ATM fraud in other parts of the Caribbean. One person was convicted in the Cayman Islands, sentenced, and has since been deported from that country. The scammers have committed similar offences in Columbia, Canada, Antigua and Barbados."