Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Regional financial institutions fighting rapid growth in identity theft and credit card fraud

IDENTITY theft has increased “exponentially” in the Caribbean, but regional financial institutions are continuously collaborating in the fight against such threats to card-based transactions.

This is according to Denver Frater, Regional director and chief security officer for the Security and Investigation Department of Scotiabank in the Eastern Caribbean, who will be addressing the topic of payment card fraud on October 2 at the Crime Stoppers International Conference in Barbados.
Denver Frater, Regional Director and Chief Security
Officer for the Security and Investigation Department
of Scotiabank in the Eastern Caribbean.
Frater explained that while card payments are increasingly being favoured by customers for convenience, criminals have been attempting to exploit this to fund their enterprises.

“A common criminal trend is identity theft. The incidence of identity theft has increased exponentially within our region in recent years, and the main perpetrators are members of organised criminal organisations, involved in activities such as the illicit drug trade and money laundering. These kinds of threats, if not scrupulously identified and managed, can have devastating effect on countries, let alone small economies.”

However, Frater stressed that payment cards were safe and that regional and international financial institutions were not standing idly by while their customers were being targeted.

“Separate and apart from the efforts of individual financial institutions in establishing their own monitoring, compliance and risk management, investigative and educational awareness programs, collectively the Caribbean Bankers Association, in collaboration with critical stakeholders, which include law enforcement authorities, have been engaged in regular scheduled discussions relating to the current situation, new fraud trends and old fraud trends, which have resurfaced. Best practices are shared and responses are developed to mitigate and/ or eliminate these threats,” said Frater.

One such stakeholder is Crime Stoppers International, with which Scotiabank has entered into an alliance in their fight against ‘white collar crimes’.

Frater said this important partnership had resulted in the development of a number of initiatives, designed to reduce incidence of theft, fraud and corruption in the work place and beyond. Calling Crime Stoppers track record in fighting such crimes “enviable”, he also said its global reach was important in the fight against international criminal networks.

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