Several banks in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands have discovered a security breach in their customers’ accounts.
Scotiabank, Banco Popular, and FirstBank have not reported how many of their cardholders have been affected by the incident. However, estimates suggest that as many as 10,000 FirstBank customers’ card numbers have already been compromised.
FirstBank first detected the breach earlier in November following undisclosed “security incidents” at outside retailers located in the United States.
“I can disclose that the breach occurred in two U.S. retailers,” reported FirstBank marketing communications manager Alana Alexander. “Therefore, FirstBank does not need to involve local police authorities.”
Once the banks became aware of the problem, representatives began calling clients to inform them that their cards had been compromised. The banks have since begun contacting their customers via mail due to outdated phone records.
Scotiabank has indicated that if it detects a card transaction that seems suspicious, it will contact the customer to verify the activity. If the transaction is fraudulent, Scotiabank will block the card and issue a new one in the mail.
Following news of the breach, Dr. Orlando Smith, Premier of the British Virgin Islands, began working with bank officials to make sure that those who have lost any funds receive their money back.
The Premier confirms that the breach has rekindled discussions for deposit insurance for accountholders in the territory.
If instated, the insurance would protect bank accounts up to $100,000, just like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation protects U.S. accounts.
In the meantime, Dr. Smith’s main concern is assuring the security of customers’ funds: “The protection of the financial assets of the citizens of the society is of highest priority for this government. Each and every person in the territory who has accounts at the bank here must be assured that their deposits are secure.”