29th May 2020

Barclays Prone to Fraud and Theft Targets

A Barclays Bank ATM
A Barclays Bank ATM

Barclays Bank is in the news lately for all the wrong reasons both in Zambia and in its country of origin, Britain. An update to the ATM fraud case in Zambia states that the accused are still remanded in custody pending the continuation of the trial on February 12. Three Bulgarians are charged with 11 counts of unauthorised access intercepting data, possession of devices for capturing data and cyber theft on bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) contrary to the Laws of Zambia. The bank’s ATMs in question belong to Barclays Bank Zambia at different locations in Kabwe, Ndola, Kitwe and Lusaka. Up to now the prosecution has not modified their case to define the devices used in stealing money from customers’ bank accounts.

Seeing as Kabwe is on the list, we’d like to revisit a certain news item by financialtechnology which had reported that, Barclays Bank Zambia suspected its own employees for defrauding a number of customers after their salaries were paid back in March 2013. The article claims that, the bank suspected the fraud occurred in one of its branches in Kabwe and was an in-house job that was aided by IT department workers.

On the other hand, the fraud scheme that the Bulgarian trio allegedly carried out is called ATM skimming. And according to eye witness testimony, from a security guard at the scene, it appears as though the trio installed skimmers on the ATMs at the mentioned locations. No evidence from monitoring CCTV cameras  has been brought forward so far. I wonder whether the security cameras were out of order? Or maybe it’s just procedural to have a notice saying the location is under video surveillance meanwhile the cameras don’t even work.

In other news, in a probable failure to protect private data, 27,000 Barclays Bank customers have been left vulnerable after a data leak. According to Ventures Africa,  an anonymous whistleblower has handed UK newspaper, The Mail, a memory stick containing highly sensitive data of up to 2,000 customers of Barclays Bank, which were allegedly stolen and sold to rogue brokers. The whistleblower claims to be withholding information of an additional 25,000 customers. Apparently, the customers were targeted for an elaborate scam significant for rogue City traders’ ‘deal’. Each customers’ information is about 20 pages long, and could be sold by shady salesmen for up to £50 ($82) per file, said the whistleblower. According to the unknown man’s estimate, up to 1,000 people could have been ‘scammed’ by being persuaded to buy rare earth metals that did not exist.

If found culpable for the leak, Barclays could be fined up to £500,000 ($820,550) by UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, as it does to organisations that fail to protect private data. This sounds like something our very own ZICTA (Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority) should be in charge of as well.

Image credit: blinman