Three South American men who stole from Scotiabank ATM's have been charged with two counts of preparation to commit a crime. They were arraigned this afternoon. They are Edgar Vargas Vaca, Juan Espinoza Saavedra and Luis Marroquin. They went before Magistrate Patricia Arana. She did not take a plea,because the offences are indictable. The prosecutor objected to bail on the ground that the men are flight risks and if they are granted bail they will not return to court. Magistrate Arana agreed and she denied them bail and she remanded them into custody until March 27. So now that the ATM skimmers are behind bars, how did they do it? And what can you do to protect yourself from this scam? Courtney Weatherburne has the story.
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
A stop at the ATM is almost second nature, it is the quickest and most efficient way to get cash but is it the safest ? A new scam has consumers concerned.
It's called skimming. The skimmer uses hidden devices to steal personal information. They would place an identical card reader over the machine's original card slot. When you insert your ATM card, the counterfeit reader scans and stores your information. The skimmers also place a tiny hidden camera on the machine to get a clear view of the keypad as you enter your PIN.
Others place an identical keypad over the machines pad and it records your PIN as you punch it in. It's a sophisticated scam
And Scotia bank was the latest target. The ATM's their Belama Branch in Belize City and their branch in Dangriga have been compromised.
And these are the men behind the scam. They are Columbian national Edgar Vargas Vaca, Chilean national Juan Espinoza Saavedra and Peruvian national Luis Marroquin. They have all been charged and arraigned.
ACP Joseph Myvette, Head, NCIB
"They have since been arrested and charged for the crime of preparation for a crime."
The police have been trailing behind these men for about a year and surveillance cameras at the Scotia Bank Belama Branch caught one of them walking into the ATM
And then when he gets inside, he is caught installing the counterfeit card reader. When police responded the man had already left but they kept trailing them and finally caught them red handed
in Dangriga. The men were in these vehicles when police intercepted them. Police confiscated the skimming devices as well as lap top computers and other equipment. At this point, the police can't say how many customers have been affected and Scotia bank hasn't released any statement or advisory.
But to ensure you aren't a victim of this fraud, you can check the card reader to see if it is firmly in place and it doesn't come undone, also check the machine especially above the keypad to see if any device is attached to it. Just some helpful tips that save you a whole lot of stress.
The police are checking to see if these men have carried out this scam at other banks because these skimmers can target any bank and any ATM. It is important for ATM users to be on the alert.