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Tech and Cybersecurity: The Crime of Skimming

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

January 20, 2023 – ATMs are a place of increased vigilance for most people, outside they pay attention to their surroundings and any suspicious individuals as they go in and leave quickly and safely but many never look for threats inside.   An especially dangerous threat that can come from  ATMs themselves is called Skimming.

According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders’ PINs.

This data can then be used to create an illegal duplicate of your card that actually works and can be used to drain your accounts.

More common in The Caribbean than Fuel pump skimmers are ATM and Point of Sale (POS) Skimmers.

ATM skimmers are usually glued on over the original card reader to stall card information.  Pinhole camera and keyboard overlays are also used to catch people inputting their PIN numbers.  These devices usually mirror what the ATM is supposed to look like very well and may not be visible at first glance

As for POS skimming there have been instances where POS machines have been replaced with fake ones.

There are several precautions you can take in order to avoid any skimming plots.

  • Avoid non-bank ATMs if you can, as bank owned ATMs tend to be harder for criminals to gain access to. Your best bet is an ATM that is both bank owned and physically attached to a bank branch.
  • Use machines that are in public view making them less likely to be tampered with.
  • Pay attention to the machine. If something looks crooked, words on the screen are mis-aligned, a part of the machine looks newer or different in color, skip that one and go elsewhere.
  • Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. You should also cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.
  • Try to use your credit card in areas that you might not trust or when you go on trips.

Always be vigilant in and outside of ATMs to keep your hard earned cash as safe as possible.

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Caribbean News

Justice system instructed to improve coordination 

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Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos#Violence, February 23rd, 2024 – Violence exploded in the Turks and Caicos between January 26 and February 2nd, and with signs pointing to the involvement of recently released convicts the National Security Council is on a mission to reduce the risk of flare ups when offenders rejoin society.

The Police Force, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and other criminal Justice partners have now been instructed to review how they coordinate with each other and complete their specific roles to support case progression. Assessments about public safety in respect to offenders during bail hearings are also to be given keen attention.

The NSC is also planning to engage with the Judiciary as part of this review to help with delivering verdicts in a timely manner,

Called after the January 26 killing in Grand Turk which allegedly involved a former inmate, the meeting gathered law enforcement and other partners so that the NSC could get a sense of how effectively they were working with each other to ‘secure criminal justice outcomes.’

“The NSC— sought briefings on the effectiveness of liaison between the RTCIPF, the office of the DPP and wider criminal justice agencies in respect of case progression, including the assessments made to public safety that inform representations at bail hearings,” a statement revealed.

The information detailing the January 30th NSC meeting was released on February 2nd.

With senior leadership from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF), the TCI Regiment, TCI Border Force, HMP and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the room, the NSC looked into two incidents involving recently released inmates.

Two days after the meeting the NSC chairs had to be briefed again about another incident involving a former inmate where two men were left dead on February 1.

The Council headed jointly by Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor says the risk reduction strategies discussed in the meeting NSC will seek to address HMP exit arrangements and risks to public safety.

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Caribbean News

Turks and Caicos Islands once again Grapple with Rising Firearms-Related Offenses

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#TurksandCaicos#GunCrime, February 23rd, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are currently facing an unprecedented surge in violent crimes, particularly those involving firearms. This disturbing trend has sent shockwaves through the community, leaving citizens, law enforcement, and political leaders in a state of alarm.

 

Retaliatory gang violence appears to be the primary motive for these murders. The frequent reports of grave offenses have underscored the urgent need for effective strategies to combat this menace and restore peace and normalcy to the islands.

 

The escalating violence in TCI not only poses a direct threat to public safety but also raises critical questions about the efficacy of current measures to prevent such incidents. Families who have lost loved ones to this wave of crime are particularly frustrated with the apparent lack of accountability and justice, seeking more than just words of condolence from their leaders.

 

A significant concern is whether the British government, in conjunction with local elected and appointed officials, is taking adequate steps to secure the borders and tighten control over entry points to curb the inflow of illegal weapons and contraband.

 

Effective border management is crucial for interrupting the channels through which these illicit items are entering TCI, a task that demands immediate and focused attention.

 

It seems as if the progress previously made by local law enforcement is now overshadowed. The responsibility of the government to ensure the safety and security of its citizens is paramount. Without decisive action to address these security lapses, the islands risk witnessing a further escalation in violence, with innocent bystanders increasingly caught in the crossfire.

 

The call to action is clear: TCI requires a comprehensive and practical plan to stem the tide of violence. This plan must encompass both preventive measures to halt the influx of illegal firearms and aggressive strategies to eliminate those already circulating within the communities.

 

Like many concerned citizens, I too will argue that the British government and local politicians have fallen short in this critical area, prompting calls for the declaration of a state of emergency to address the crisis head-on. As we can see, it goes beyond changing leadership faces.

 

Proposed measures should include additional attempts of the gun buyback program, enhanced investigative efforts, strategic traffic stops to detect weapons and contraband, the utilization of inmate informants to dismantle gang networks operating inside and outside the prison walls, significantly increasing the Crime Stoppers rewards, establishment of a specialized first responder task force in Grand Turk, to include the reestablishment of the Capital’s maritime unit with the necessary resources to patrols and intercept illicit trafficking.

 

The community’s patience is wearing thin with mere discussions, proposed plans and unfulfilled promises. The demand is for immediate, tangible action to disrupt the cycle of violence. The effectiveness of current strategies is in question, and there is a consensus that a more robust approach is necessary.

 

Among the suggestions are initiatives aimed at engaging at-risk youth, who are often drawn into criminal activities due to a lack of alternatives and positive influences. Addressing the root causes of youth involvement in crime is seen as essential for long-term change.

 

The reality is, we are living in an era of dramatic upheaval and the TCI community is at a critical juncture.

 

The collective effort of law enforcement, government, and citizens is imperative in turning the tide against the proliferation of firearms-related offenses.

 

This is why, I like others are committed to giving disenfranchised youth a second chance to avoid getting caught up again in the nonsense and an opportunity to become productive citizens.

 

Against this backdrop, how will we respond to the cry for help? Will the community rally behind law enforcement? It will only get worse not better if too many good people do nothing.

 

We call on our community to find peaceful ways to have civil discourse rather than retaliate. Avoid the temptation of retaliation as violence is never the answer.

 

The path forward involves not only stringent security measures but also a deep commitment to social programs that address the underlying factors contributing to the rise in violence.

 

The time for action is now, to ensure the safety and prosperity of the Turks and Caicos Islands for generations to come.

 

By Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Caribbean News

TCI Opposition Leader Proposes Fingerprinting for All Travellers 

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Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23rd, 2024– “Every individual entering these islands should be fingerprinted without exception,” says Edwin Astwood, opposition leader. It’s part of the crime plan that the PDM wants instituted to curb violence in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

“At present, we remain uncertain about who resides among us, and their history, whether they are hired mercenaries, convicted killers, criminals on the run, or gang leaders indoctrinating our youth,” he continued, “The police force must be equipped with a computerized fingerprinting system extending its use to driver’s licenses and individuals applying for work permits,” Astwood maintained.

 

The party leader was speaking on February 3, hours after the second double murder in as many days was committed. Two mass shootings, injuring at least seven people in total and killing two each (four in total), were carried out on February 1st and 2nd in Providenciales.

 

Astwood had other gripes as well regarding the current policing methods.

 

“We are also concerned about the ineffectiveness of the CCTV cameras that millions of our people’s money was spent on,” he said.

 

CCTV cameras had been installed across Providenciales and Grand Turk between 2018 and 2020 on utility poles to equip the force with the potential for higher levels of monitoring in our communities and with solving criminal activity. The police say they charged at least three men in 2023, two with robbery and one with gang membership thanks to CCTV.

 

Astwood stressed that every life lost was a tremendous calamity. He claimed that the failed policies of the PNP had made life more challenging and less safe.

 

The opposition leader maintained that the government needed to do more to fight crime. “Once again, I urge the government to take decisive action. It serves no purpose to boast about a flourishing economy when the population cannot be certain if they will live to see another day, take action.”

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