Increasing attempts of international debit card fraud


The Grenadian Voice understands that a number of Ariza credit union customers’ debit cards have been hacked and fraudulent online transactions performed.

According to the credit union, “the scammers did not attack our network, a member used their card on a website that was compromised and as a result the scammers used the information received to attempt further fraudulent transactions.”

One affected customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told this newspaper earlier this month she noticed a transaction not performed by her to pay for a Netflix account, for over $30.

She has been an Ariza member since 2017 and uses her debit card at least once a week and checks                    her account online every two days.

Knowing that she does not have a Netflix account and uses that card only at the ATM, she immediately contacted Ariza and was informed that a customer service representative will get back to her. After a week of no contact, she called again and was informed that she was not the only one affected. The Ariza representative told her that the financial institution has a backlog of calls to make to customers whose accounts were tampered with.

As a result, her account was frozen, leaving her unable to do any local point of sale.

She was promised a new card and reimbursement as Ariza is being assisted by Visa Inc to conduct an investigation into the matter.

On Tuesday morning, the affected Ariza customer checked her account again and saw a second charge of over $30 from another company in the USA. She again complained to Ariza and was told that her card number was among those randomly selected by scammers in the Philippines and the USA.

In an October 29 press release, Ariza credit union advises “its members and the public to be cautious when conducting online transactions using their debit card as there have been increased fraudulent attempts in the market recently.”

Ariza advises customers of the following when using their debit card:

• Memorize your pin to avoid writing it where someone can access it.

• Report loss or stolen cards immediately. Call Ariza on 440-1759 or email

• Always keep your card in sight. Giving your card to someone is like giving them cash, be sure to get your card back after each purchase. Never lend your card to anyone.

• Sign up for Ariza Mobile Internet Experience (AMIE) to view and review transactions online or on the app frequently.

• Use legitimate sites only when using your card online. If you are unsure of the site’s legitimacy, use known payment options such as PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, American Express, Visa Checkout or Masterpass.

• Do not share your card number, CVV code and expiry date via email, social media, messaging services (example WhatsApp) or with unauthorized persons.

• Before entering any personal information on a webpage, check the URL to make sure it starts with HTTPS and is preceded by a locked padlock icon.

• Do not download unknown software or applications on your devices. Always download from reputable sources.

• Use a strong password (capital letters, numbers, and symbols). Change your password periodically.

The credit union, in the release said it “protects members by active monitoring of card transactions throughout its network. Potentially compromised cards will be replaced as soon as possible. Any card affected by mass fraud attempts on the Ariza network will be reimbursed.”

In addition, the release said the CONNEX network (Grenada Co-operative Bank, Ariza Credit Union, GUT Credit Union and Communal Credit Union) is upgrading all its Visa debit cards from the traditional magnetic-stripe card to EMV/Chip cards, short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa and refers to cards with a smart chip.”

Ariza explained that “The EMV/Chip card will provide improved security for purchases and is globally accepted. Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card’s chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. When making purchases in person, you will be required to enter a PIN. The EMV Visa International Debit Card will continue to have the traditional magnetic stripe on the back of the card with the additional security feature of a chip, which allows it to be used at both chip and traditional magnetic stripe terminals.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here