BDO blocks some ATM debit cards due to increase in 'data skimming'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 1) — BDO Unibank Inc. said on Friday it blocked some ATM (automated teller machine) debit and cash cards following an increase in reports of data skimming.

"We regret to inform you that the industry has recently experienced an increased incidence of data skimming from ATM debit and cash cards," it said in a statement.

"As a precautionary measure, we have taken the necessary steps to block the cards that we believe may have been compromised," it added. BDO is the country's largest bank in terms of assets with some 3,700 ATMs nationwide.

The blocking of the ATM cards came at the start of a long weekend to mark the Eid'l Adha holiday. BDO declined to say how many cards were affected and in which areas of the country the cards were blocked.

BDO apologized to its affected clients and offered alternatives for cash withdrawals.

"For those whose cards were blocked, over-the-counter withdrawals at BDO branches are allowed free of charge," BDO said. Selected BDO branches are open on Saturdays.

The ATM debit and cash cards that have been compromised will be immediately replaced for free, it said.

READ: BPI explains human error in systems glitch; BDO discloses 'skimming fraud'

The new data skimming issue comes two months after a similar incident had affected seven of the bank's 3,700 ATM machines on June 16, which resulted in questionable transactions.

In a Senate inquiry on June 21, BDO Transaction Banking Group executive vice president Edwin Romualdo Reyes said "skimming is the unauthorized copying of the magnetic stripe information of the ATM cards."

Culprits used illegal devices to access the magnetic stripe which contains the depositor's information, along with the personal identification number to complete a transaction, he said.

To avert further cases of skimming, the Bangko Sentral has ordered all banks to convert their ATM systems into adopting the Europay, MasterCard Visa (EMV) system for added security. EMV cards have an embedded chip that protects the cardholder's information from identity theft.

Some BDO clients took their experience to social media since Thursday.

Netizens advised others of the situation.

While some expressed their frustration over the hassle of their cards being blocked ahead of a long weekend.

(Update) So I called bdo's customer service and found out that my card is included in the list of compromised cards

— Ashley Lucas (@101ASHtray) August 31, 2017