Tech and Cybersecurity: The Crime of Skimming
By Dana Malcolm
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.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Police Week Speech brings welcomed report for Police Marine Branch
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March , 2023 – All around growth for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force and its initiatives is what Commissioner Trevor Botting is promising with the revelation of several personnel additions in his address to the nation during Police Week.
The Marine Branch of the police in particular, is getting some much needed support.
“We are currently procuring new vessels for our Marine Branch, along with recruiting 12 marine officers for the team. The UK Government is funding a dedicated and highly technical aircraft for the Force to provide a critical capability to detect threats at sea,” he explained.
The capabilities of the Marine Branch have been a sore spot for some residents because as the team in Providenciales repeatedly proves its efficiency and indispensability, residents in Grand Turk remain without the aid of their own branch in emergencies. It makes the announcement of expansion doubly significant.
More expansions are coming on land, with the promised UK backup, finally active, shared Botting.
“Whilst colleagues from the RBPF came to support us so magnificently, there have been other key additions to the ranks within the Force. We have welcomed a new Head of Crime, Superintendent Dean Holden and 17 investigators, funded by the UK Government to support our Serious Crime Team. Our staffing numbers have been bolstered by a number of highly trained and experienced police officers that have joined us from across the region, as well as 18 new recruits who have just left for their initial training in the Bahamas,” Botting said, also promising that promotions were underway for Assistant Superintendents, Inspectors and Sergeants.”
A drone unit has been launched, along with the expansion of the community policing project.
“Working with our young people is critical in building safer communities. The assistance and encouragement we have received from the people we serve is truly appreciated,” he said, maintaining that the Force is ‘growing its capability fast– to meet the demands of the future in order to best protect communities.”
Human Smugglers targeting TCIs Uninhabited Islands, over 200 Illegals & Marijuana nearly made it ashore
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, March 9, 2023 – Human Smuggles are finding new ways to exploit the vulnerabilities of TCI’s porous borders; a recent capture of over 200 illegal migrants exposes that increasingly boats are pointing their sterns toward the uninhabited or lesser inhabited islands; once again it was West Caicos.
Three children, 40 women and 162 men were found crammed in a vessel, spotted trying to make its way to the island, which sits close to the economic hub of the country, Providenciales.
Only days before, a Magnetic Media informant sent photographs of dozens of hurried foot prints in the sand on the beach in northwest Providenciales; those prints are often a sign that illegal entries are happening and an unknown number of people and other contraband are making it to shore, mostly from embattled Haiti.
These voyages are not unassisted.
In January, information to police allowed a commercial cargo vessel carrying irregular migrants from Haiti to be discovered; also at the start of the year, the Royal TCI Police charged one of its own with harbouring illegals.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Police say they were acting on information received. Police also say they found packages of marijuana floating near the vessel.
“… at around 2.51 pm, the officers, via the Sea Protector vessel, intercepted a blue, 44 ft migrant vessel about 3.5miles south-west of the Bluff, Providenciales. The migrant vessel was found carrying a total of TWO HUNDRED AND TWO (202) illegal migrants…The illegal migrants were handed over to the Immigration Task Force.”
Video of that vessel showed a crush of people on the boat. You could hear the person filming the dangerously overloaded craft say to someone else, “I gave them some water, but I cannot stay.”
“Marine Branch Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force were dispatched yesterday (March 08th) afternoon following reports that a suspicious vessel was seen making its way towards West Caicos. Additionally, Marine Officers seized four packages containing what appeared to be cannabis, floating in close proximity to the illegal migrant vessel. The suspected drugs were handed over to officers of Grace Bay Police Post.”
The RTCIPF confirmed this latest capture as the eighth interception for the year, the TCI now having arrested at least 1,053 illegal migrants since Christmas, based on a presentation made by Arlington ‘Chuck’ Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.
On February 9th, during a national press conference, Minister Musgrove announced that since Christmas, 851 illegals had been stopped from disappearing into the Turks and Caicos. This newest number adds to that figure.
Rodney Adams, Commissioner of Police (acting) in the statement offered thanks to the public for sharing the information, encouraging further partnerships. Adams named the agencies involved in the operation.
“Through several agencies, including the RTCIPF Marine Branch, Maritime Operations Center and the Immigration Task Force working cohesively, this sloop was identified and intercepted, preventing over 200 irregular migrants from entering the TCI illegally.”
Photo Credit: RTCIPF
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