This country’s commercial banks have sought to make it clear the breaches of their customers’ credit and debit cards are not a result of access to local bank data bases.

This assurance is contained in a statement from the Barbados Bankers Association following scores of commercial bank and credit union customers in Barbados being hit by online hackers who used their credit and debit cards to make fraudulent transactions.

A statement on behalf of the five commercial banks operating in Barbados says the breaches did not result from unauthorized access to customers’ personal information held by the banks but appears to be related to a small number of online retailers whose websites are used by customers for online shopping.

The Bankers Association also insists the breach only affected a small percentage of customers of local banks.

The statement adds that the sector takes the security of personal data very seriously and incorporates best-practice processes and systems to this end.

It says the financial institutions have moved swiftly to contact the affected customers to take the necessary action, potentially including replacement of customers’ cards.

Meantime, Starcom Network News investigations indicate the breach may have originated with an international e-commerce provider that facilitates the online transactions of the thousands of Barbadians when they make purchases from online retailers.

It is understood that the hackers accessed the e-commerce data base and obtained the credit and debit card or BIN numbers of their Barbadian victims. The BIN numbers are those at the front of credit and debit cards.

Sources tell Starcom Network News that the breach is even more worrying since it involves not just credit cards that have a fixed limit but also the new visa debit cards that are linked to people’s bank accounts.

Our sources note that some online merchants and especially for transactions below a certain dollar amount do not require the 3-digit security code which is at the back of cards and this has allowed fraudulent transactions to be made using the credit and debit cards of a number of Barbadians.

Meantime, local credit unions, who are not members of the Bankers Association, are also closely monitoring these developments.

Steve Belle, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Bridgetown Credit Union, COB, tells Starcom Network News, some of their members have also been affected.

COB has temporarily blocks online card transactions.


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