"We want to take preventive measures. We will check all our systems and ATMs. We will check it again," BNI Director of Finance, Anggoro Eko Cahyo, said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian banks, particularly large state-owned lenders Bank BNI and Bank Mandiri, are checking their payment systems, following incidents of siphoning off of customers` funds at state-owned Bank Rakyat`s (BRI`s) Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs).

Jakarta Regional Police investigators have revealed a network responsible for an ATM skimming scam, involving Romanians, Hungarians, and an Indonesian, hacking into 64 banks, including foreign banks.

"Foreign banks have also become the target," Adjunct Commissioner Rovan Richard Mahenu of the General Criminal Investigation Directorate of the Jakarta Police stated in Jakarta on Friday (March 16).

The recent case is the theft of state-owned BRI customers` data by the syndicate, where the suspects withdrew money from ATMs in some regions.

In order to avoid further incidents, banks are checking their payment devices. Bank Mandiri, for example, claimed to be checking its ATMs. Bank Mandiri Corporate Secretary Rohan Hafas remarked that his bank has to assure the security of its payment system.

He claimed to be checking all of its ATM machines. In fact, for actively used ATM machines, such as those in Jakarta, checking is done every one hour.

"But for ATM machines in the region which are rarely used for transactions, checks are done once a day," Hafas revealed.

The ATM/debit card skimming crime has several modes, including attaching a card reader at the mouth of an ATM machine and a hidden camera on the PIN keypad. The card reader automatically retrieves the card data for card duplication. The hidden camera is required to know the PIN of the ATM card.

In addition to banking, customers are also required to actively secure data in ATM/debit card.

Hafas explained that customers need to change their PIN regularly and maintain PIN secrecy. "Customers also need to activate SMS notification because when suspicious transactions occur, customers can immediately be notified," he elaborated.

The same preventive measures are also being taken by Bank BNI. The bank assured that it will check all of its 17 thousand units of ATMs in Indonesia to ensure that there will be no skimming on customers` ATM debit cards.

"We want to take preventive measures. We will check all our systems and ATMs. We will check it again," BNI Director of Finance, Anggoro Eko Cahyo, pointed out in Jakarta on Wednesday (March 21).

Cahyo admitted that his bank was taking this anticipation following the increasingly widespread cases of ATM skimming scam that affects customers of other banks. In the last few days, dozens of customers from Bank BRI and Bank Mandiri claimed to have lost money mysteriously, with a loss of over Rp150 million.

The BNI director claimed that until now, no reports had been received from customers about the loss of funds or alleged skimming crime.

"Virtually, ATM skimming scam takes place every year. The point is how every bank secures the ATM system and also educates its customers," he noted.

In addition to improving safety standards, banks should also increase awareness among customers to better understand the efforts to prevent the occurrence of skimming.

In the meantime, officers of the Jakarta Police are investigating allegations of three automatic teller machine (ATM) skimmer networks that stole bank customers` data and siphoning off their money in Indonesian territory.

"We are investigating what occurred in Surabaya to know whether it is linked with one, two, or three networks," Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Jakarta Regional Police Senior Commissioner Nico Afinta noted in Jakarta on Wednesday (March 21).

Afinta remarked that investigators of the Jakarta Police had tracked the network that broke into the accounts of bank customers in Java, Bali, and East Nusa Tenggara.

The Jakarta police officers will coordinate with the local police to investigate the allegations of the ATM skimmer network link.

Earlier, the Jakarta Police investigators had arrested six members of a syndicate comprising five foreigners from Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary and an Indonesian citizen that broke into the bank accounts of customers using skimming modes.

The perpetrators, identified by their initials as IRL, LNM, ASC from Romania; FH from Hungary; BKV from Bulgaria; and MK from Indonesia, were arrested by officers in different locations.

The international syndicate stole the data of some three thousand customers of 64 domestic and overseas banks in Indonesia. Based on temporary inspection, the syndicate that siphoned off clients` money had been operating since July 2017.

The suspects targeted bank customers by installing a deep-skimmer tool in ATM machines in areas of Jakarta, Bandung, Tangerang, Yogyakarta, and Denpasar in Bali.

In West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), three Bulgarians were sentenced to 3.5 years in jail on March 12 for stealing banking data from ATM users with a skimmer in Gili Trawangan resort island of North Lombok.

Chief of panel of judges, Didiek Jatmiko, in its verdict, stated that the court has also imposed a fine of Rp300 million to the three convicts, namely Vladimir Hristovorov Veleb, Stnacho Mihailov Stanev, and Mitko Venelinov Borisov.


Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2018