Lao bank issues warning about ATM fraudsters

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Lao Development Bank (LDB) is advising members of the public and especially its customers to be on the alert when using the bank’s automatic teller machines (ATMs).

The bank has issued a notice warning that card users’ personal information may be stolen by thieves from ATMs using various devious methods.

The bank suggests that cardholders carefully inspect ATM keypads to make sure they are not covered by an additional keypad which could copy the information on their bank card.

Secondly, a pinhole camera or a micro camera may be installed above the keypad which could take images of customers’ card details and passwords as they are entered.

Finally, users should notice the card insert channel to make sure there is nothing secretly installed. Normally, the signal light around the card insert point will flash when a card is not inserted in the ATM.

Cardholders should also be suspicious if the card channel is abnormally tight. This could mean that a ‘skimmer’ device has been installed to steal information from the magnetic strip on the back of cards.

A senior officer at the Lao Development Bank, who asked not be named, told Vientiane Times the security warning was issued as a priority by the bank because the banking system is internationally integrated.

“Although there has been no such incident at any ATM kiosks in Laos, incidents are taking place in other parts of the world and the banking system is integrated so the warnings are being issued internationally,” he said.

He added that thieves were always testing ATM security to see if they could hack cardholders’ information so the warning notice was intended to benefit both domestic and international customers.

In the warning statement, LDB asks members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour at ATMs by phoning (021) 264 362 or (021) 218 913.

LDB is a state-owned commercial bank operated by the Ministry of Finance.

The bank’s head office is on Souphanouvong Avenue in Chanthaboury district. There are 18 branches, with one in every province, and correspondent banks in many other countries.

It provides banking services primarily focusing on business customers, particularly SMEs, along with other services such as savings accounts, day-to-day accounts, deposit accounts, money transfers, loans, and foreign exchange outlets.

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