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PNP and JABRAC Strengthen Focus on ATM Fraud

With the increasing cases of ATM card fraud, the Joint Anti-Bank Robbery Action Committee (JABRAC) has strengthened its focus in locating ATM fraud syndicates who are responsible for putting skimming devices on automated teller machines.

Skimming devices are placed secretly in Automated Teller Machines to copy the bank account data from inserted ATM cards and loot the card owner’s bank account.

Recently, elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cyber Crime Group and Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) arrested two Bulgarian nationals at the BDO ATM booth inside SM City Pampanga on May 15 after they were caught in the act of installing ATM skimming devices on the ATM pin pads of the said bank.

Arrested were Mladenov Emil Stoyanov, and Kanev Lyuben Georgiev. Confiscated from them were three data port cables matching the ATM card skimmer; one small, flat screw driver used in picking ATM cards; and one laptop allegedly with software that decodes ATM accounts. The PNP-Anti Cyber Crime Group found that certain software for decoding ATM cards was installed in the laptop of the suspects.

Stoyanov and Georgiev are now facing charges for violation of RA 8484 or the Access Devices Regulation Act Of 1998. They are presently detained at Pampanga Provincial Jail.

Suspects are possible members of an international ATM skimming syndicate; this is manifested by a similar incident that transpired in Angeles City on February 7, 2014 that led to the arrest of a Romanian national.

While the PNP and JABRAC continue to search for other related syndicates, bank owners are advised to implement maximum installation of CCTV cameras near their ATM booths. Also, the designation of security guards will be a great help to watch and secure their respective ATMs.

JABRAC is a joint effort of the government and private sector to fight bank-related crimes. The PNP chief chairs the committee.