Vietcombank locks multiple cards over ATM theft risks

By Thanh Thanh Lan   October 14, 2016 | 11:47 pm PT
Vietcombank locks multiple cards over ATM theft risks
Many Vietcombank customers received notifications that their ATM cards have been locked. Photo by VnExpress
The bank says the preemptive move was made as some cash machines were vulnerable to thieves and their skimming devices.

Vietcombank, Vietnam's largest lender by market capitalization, on Thursday locked a number of bank cards in a move to help protect their clients from possible theft at ATM machines.

Many cardholders reported that they could not use their cards at some ATM machines, which notified them that their cards had been locked.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Hang, director of Vietcombank's card division, confirmed that the move was made because those ATM machines were vulnerable to identity and information theft.

The bank has risk management systems to track customer transactions every day, she said. "In these cases we assessed that the information security was vulnerable, so we have informed our cardholders beforehand through text messages, and locking the cards was not a sudden decision," said Hang.

She added that Vietcombank has also recommended the cardholders to change their PIN code.

The bank has detected many cases where thieves attached an ATM skimming device, typically a small plastic piece containing electronic chips, to steal card information, Hang said.

Mini cameras may also steal information from clients who forget to cover the keypad when entering their PIN, which is a recommended practice, she said.

Vietcombank suggested that those who received the message or are unable to withdraw money from ATM machines should contact the bank’s customer service center to unlock the cards. Customers may also request to have their current card replaced free of charge.

The tricks of increasingly sophisticated hackers have become more difficult for ATM users to detect, forcing local banks to look for better preventive measures.

At a recent conference on banking security, the risk of hackers using ATM skimming devices has been warned by the police.

Last year the police requested that the central bank order commercial lenders to test and install anti-skimming devices at their ATMs. But many machines are still not fitted with such devices, according to the police.

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