Authorities Warn Public of Organised Crime Involving ATM Fraud

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Police officers are are in pursuit of two wanted criminals who are suspected to be using fake ATM cards to withdraw money from various bank ATMs in Vientiane and other provinces.

According to the Economic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, numerous people have fallen victim to the criminal action and a considerable amount of money has been stolen.

The department has issued a warning to the public, to beware of fake ATM cards being used to withdraw money from ATMs of various banks in the Lao PDR, along with pictures of the two wanted suspects. Members of the public who see the suspects are asked to inform the authorities nearest them immediately.

The warning also uncovered the tactics used by the criminals, to carry out the organised crime that has caused a detriment to so many victims’ accounts.

An officer of the department explains that the criminals used skimming devices attached to the ATMs to record people’s card information unknowingly when the machines were being used. The criminals then used the acquired information to produce fraudulent cards to withdraw money.

The suspects have been captured on CCTV cameras behaving in a suspicious demeanor, however the nationalities of the suspects and the number of those involved remains unknown.

According to a member in law enforcement, police officers and representatives of the banks have held meetings on the issue to discuss measures in preventing the unlawful crime.

Various commercial banks have been warned by the department to take the proper precautions in managing and inspecting their ATM’s to avoid anyone else falling victim to the bandits.

A bank official has addressed that, compensation for money lost to the criminals by customers could be made on a case by case basis.

As an example, in the case the loss of money is caused by a banking system not meeting security standards, appropriate consideration would be made to compensate depositors.

However, where the loss of money falls under the responsibility of the depositors, for instance the depositors failed to keep their ATM password confidential and was utilized by someone else to withdraw funds from their accounts, the bank would not compensate.

The official suggested ATM users to carefully observe ATMs, specifically the card insert panel to ensure there is no skimming device attached, along with covering the ATM keyboard panel when inputting a password.

ATM users are urged to report any suspicious machines or irregularities to their bank immediately.