FirstBank customers should keep an eye on their accounts and their emails for suspicious shopping activity because about 50 FirstBank customers in the Virgin Islands have so far been found to have compromised bank cards, with some reporting fraudulent purchases made on their accounts.
“It was not a breach to the banking system but a security breach (located) where the clients had used their card,” FirstBank Marketing and Communications Manager Alana Alexander said Monday.
According to Alexander, some earlier media reports incorrectly said there was a breach at FirstBank itself, but the breach was not at the bank and was limited.
Those with compromised cards got an email Friday explaining the risk to their account. The cards were shut down and new cards were sent out Monday, Alexander said.
“The client may have used their card for a POS (point of sale credit card sale) which may have had a security breach. And the bank identified that the merchant had a breach,” she said.
Alexander said she was unable to say what merchant had the breach.
Some customers have seen money taken from their account.
One person who preferred not to be named, got robbed of several hundred dollars.
“I found out only last week when I finally balanced my checkbook for the past three months. It happened during the last week of January,” she said Monday.
“The fraudsters got my debit card number, which I only use at two markets and a gas station” on St. John, she said.
She said a copy of the card was used in 30 different transactions, mostly in Walmarts, in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Most transactions were under $20, and several were made each day at different sites.
“I have had to file a claim with the bank to get provisional credit for these transactions. The total was almost $700. The activity ceased at the end of the month,” she said.
Alexander said anyone with fraudulent charges on their accounts should notify their own bank branch, go into any branch and tell them, or call customer service at 1-866-695-2511.
Asked whether FirstBank would credit accounts where people had unauthorized withdrawals, Alexander said they would investigate each report and respond on a case by case basis.