Aruba: ATM Fraud … Skimming Scam on Aruba


Coming soon to an Aruban bank near you, if it already hasn’t arrived  … ATM fraud. Is there any form of crime that does not exist on this small island? After all there is barely 100,000 people that live there.

ORANJESTAD — The commercial banks in Aruba became the victims of skimming.   The criminals have used this method in Curaçao to withdraw cash.   It is not clear yet how much money they have taken out.  

Earlier this week, the bankers of the Aruba Bankers Association (ABA) reported that money was taken out of their automated teller machines (AMT) with illegally copied bankcards.  

Amigoe; February 26, 2007: Fraud with ATM’s

ABA-chairman Menelio Loefstok in his office on the fourth floor of the Banco di Caribe-building.   Next week he will deliberate with other bankers on the fraud committed with ATM’s in Aruba.

ORANJESTAD — The commercial banks in Aruba became the victims of skimming.   The criminals have used this method in Curaçao to withdraw cash.   It is not clear yet how much money they have taken out.  

Earlier this week, the bankers of the Aruba Bankers Association (ABA) reported that money was taken out of their automated teller machines (AMT) with illegally copied bankcards.  

ABA-chairman Menelio Loefstok wants to talk with the bankers of Arubabank, Caribbean Mercantile Bank (CMB), RBTT and Banco di Caribe about the occurrences and how to solve the problem for the banks as well as for the customer in concern.   ABA is no umbrella organization that sets out the policy for the commercial banks.   “All the banks are responsible for their service, which means that they have to decide what information they will give on skimming, and how.   ABA cannot give details about the number of ‘adapted’ ATM’s or the number of duped account holders”, said Loefstok. He did say thought that all the four commercial banks became victims of fraud.   He also said that the data obtained through skimming were sent to Canada, where they were used to take out money.  

Amigoe disposes of information that the skimming took place in February at the ATM’s of RBTT and Arubabank in Pos Chiquito, Santa Cruz, and Seaport.   Loefstok, who is chairman of ABA and general director of Banco di Caribe, confirmed that his bank has also become a victim of skimming.   He is not sure whether this was also the case with CMB.   It is certain though that there are CMB-customers whose bank cards were copied while withdrawing money from ATM’s of one of the other three banks.   If CMB experienced skimming, is very remarkable, because late January, this bank has extra secured her 40 ATM’s with special software to especially counteract skimming.   At that time, a spokesperson of CMB indicated that they have not noticed any cases of skimming in Aruba and if this form of fraud is committed on this island, it will be published right away.   CMB was not available for comments yesterday afternoon.   When Arubabank was asked for reaction, her PR-employee Shanoulle Bikker said that she will do that on Monday.  


CMB approached the duped customers yesterday, telling them that fraud has been committed with their bankcards and their accounts have therefore been blocked.   These customers could pick up a new bankcard that same afternoon.   Banco di Caribe customers were very angry when they realized that their accounts were blocked and they didn’t know for what reason.  

“All ATM transactions are registered.   The bank can trace back the moment that skimming took place, and the customer accounts that have taken out money after that time are blocked as a precaution and new bankcards are created”, said Loefstok.   He admitted that their customers were not yet informed of skimming and that it’s natural that the customers, whose accounts were blocked, reacted angrily.      

A bank can detect skimming when the customer reports that money was erroneously withdrawn from his/her account, or if during the withdrawing of money, the ATM acts ‘strange’ and the customer informs the bank about it.   “After such reporting, the bank in concern will investigate what had happened.   If it turns out that money was taken out through skimming, that bank then can take action”, said Loefstok.   He said that it is very much likely that the skimming has taken place in February or even before that, and that the banks have just detected it this week.  

“It is therefore very important that account holders monitor their accounts and know what is being taken out.”   In addition, the customers have to be attentive to indications that point at photocopier, like a double console.   “With skimming, a fake console is stuck on top of the real one.   Before using the console of the ATM, the person that is withdrawing money should run his/her fingers along the console and see if he/she can feel a thickening or double layer”, says Loefstok.   He emphasized that ABA has warned against skimming on more than one occasion in the past months.   They have pictured how a false ATM would look like.   “We are doing everything possible to counteract skimming.”   His advice is to use online banking as much as possible.      


With skimming, the data in the magnetic tape stripe of a bankcard is illegally copied.   This happens by placing special equipment in the slot of the ATM.   An unsuspecting person withdrawing money cannot see this.   The PIN code of the bankcard in question is being ‘copied’ with the use of a small camera, by forging the console, or with other devious ways.   It’s then child’s play for the criminals to withdraw money from the accounts by using the information they got.

Posted February 26, 2007 by
Amigoe, Aruba, Business, Crime | 20 comments

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  • Comments

    20 Responses to “Aruba: ATM Fraud … Skimming Scam on Aruba”

    1. vicki on February 26th, 2007 3:50 pm

      I bet when all is said and done, they will find out that Paulis the sweater is the perp…remember all those atm withdrawals?????

    2. Patti on February 26th, 2007 3:53 pm

      Do you think they’ll actually investigate this crime?
      It does sound like they are willing to, atleast, admit
      that it happened.



      Where is Natalee Holloway?

    3. Patti on February 26th, 2007 4:02 pm

      #1 – Yeah, dirty money…

    4. joe bear on February 26th, 2007 4:18 pm

      Suprise.With less American women,the pimps have finance their crimes

    5. Roy on February 26th, 2007 4:37 pm

      Hi Patti: The ATM withdrawals;;; I’m confused, dirty money or not, this article speaks of skimming in a way that people rob from others accounts by basically copying their ATM cards via some magnetic strip. Is that correct…. if so, the article would seem to give PVDS an explanation for the withdrawals rather than an admission from Aruban authorities that PVDS made them himself.
      Gloria: My take on “why there are fewer posters” is because the Q&A on most boards has become more pointed and direct. Many have divorced themselves from the subject because the questions are imo, hitting closer to home. The dilema for me is, do I let what looks like propaganda and excuses ride or do I just say what’s on my mind and ask the questions I feel needs asking. Good to see you around.

    6. Dave on February 26th, 2007 4:52 pm

      Anyone know why BFN is not up? I see just a links page now instead of the forum.


      SM:   The BFN forum works for me but is a little slow to load (klaasend)

    7. Dave on February 26th, 2007 5:56 pm

      Oh klass I see BFN is ok now :)

    8. Allan K on February 26th, 2007 7:48 pm

      Whatever happened to DeVries? Who paid him off? Was this one case to baffling for him? I don’t think so! Where is he?

    9. Elaine on February 26th, 2007 9:08 pm

      More reasons to stay far away from Aruba!

    10. chris on February 26th, 2007 9:20 pm

      I sent Nancy Grace an email this morning asking that she not forget Natalee now that all the hoopla is about Nicole.
      Again, got only the standard reply thanking me for the interest. I even told her that her new hair color was nice. That was a wasted bit of flattery.
      We have to keep this going. You know it would really be nice if we had just a little bit of news from the family on the status of the Kalpoes’ lawsuit and if anything at all is happening in Aruba re re-arresting the perps. I think it would help us to know that we’re not doing this for nothing…..chris

    11. Richard on February 26th, 2007 10:58 pm

      Chris, can you come join us at Boston? That’s one key place where we CAN stand out and be heard. If you can, ask Red to put you in contact with me.

    12. Roy on February 26th, 2007 11:14 pm

      Patti: Just wanna reply to your remarks from a previous thread….Although I’m almost 3 years removed from 22 wonderful years of military service, I did have the luxury of being involved with several Drug Task Forces. Spent many a years doing an assortment of jobs in xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxx, and others. The most satisfying and perhaps the most frustrating was the deployments to the region to fight the influx of drugs into our country. Learned some neat things about tricks of the trade to get around our technologies, got to watch live video-stream of actual drug chases, memorized the ever-changing drug routes, pacific and carribean, sat thru countless briefs and de-briefs…..suffice it to say, I’m not naive to the drug activity in the region, how it works, and why it can be so damn frustrating…My point, Hugo Chavez unless things have changed the last few years, never came close to topping that list….That’s not to say major intel like that would never have been shared in the kind of operations we did….Either way, Hugo Chavez did not kidnap, rape, or even assault Natalee so using Chavez as an excuse not to have become more involved in the investigation just seems to me to be as weak as the Godzilla excuse. When I read that thread and many of the posts, I remembered that same frustration I use to feel back then.
      Sorry for the x’s….thought the better of it.

    13. Patti on February 27th, 2007 12:13 am


      I’m not saying that he is the worst of the lot. But, you
      are aware that he has a reputation in the region of being tolerant of the trade and in many ways supports it. A
      good example of this is his refusal to allow intelligence to monitor his air space for trafficking of drugs and drug cartel. Another example is the refusal of many countries in the Carribean to trade with him.

      I’m not an expert in the drug trade, but, there is alot of information about it that is published by our own Justice Department.

      As far as excuses go, I would be the last one to provide an
      excuse to the Aruban authorities for not investigating the
      disappearance of Natalee Holloway. There are no excuses.

      What do you think about Chavez? Is he a friend or foe? Don’t you think that it is under-handed on his part to boost the price of oil through his influence in being a member of OPEC? We all pay more for our oil, most of which is not even purchased from him in the first place; while he is shipping the same oil to Cuba at a reduced rate? Do you think that it’s possible, as some people do, that he is promoting an alliance with Cuba, as well as various other islands in the Carribean, against the United States? Do you think that he supports his own interpretation of communism? There are many that think that he’s a tyrant against the U.S. I’m not the only one.

    14. Richard on February 27th, 2007 5:56 am

      And as we know, where drug trafficking flourishes, human trafficking also thrives. The links have been demonstrated.

      The topic of this thread … faked ATM cards … gives Arubans, or some of them, just another excuse to drug the tourists. While they’re out, their ATM cards can be copied.

    15. Richard on February 27th, 2007 5:58 am

      Roy, I don’t want to pry into things that you choose not to reveal, but did you come up with any insights or ideas about the proliferation of drug trafficking and other crime in Curacao? That, as you know, is where Amy Bradley disappeared from the cruise ship in March 1998.

      From what I hear, that place is a real black hole for crime.

    16. Carpe Noctem on February 27th, 2007 5:59 am

      Somehow, I am not surprised…

      Aruba was built on crime!

      They are the Caribbean Dirty Clothes Washer… they
      make dirty, clean again. They used to be really good
      at it, until they let some lying Dutch twerp bring down
      the entire island by murdering a US teen on vacation.

      The Mafia is Aruba’s number 1 employer! Just picture
      the Maytag Repairman in polka-dotted Bermuda shorts, with a pink feathered pimp hat & a Glock.

      There you go, that’s your

      WAHOO, book soon.
      (not) -j4n

    17. Carpe Noctem on February 27th, 2007 6:25 am

      #10 “I even told her that her new hair color was nice. That was a wasted bit of flattery.”

      LOL. I hadn’t noticed her change in hair color. Although
      I did learn this week during a light comedic
      piece on her show, that she is
      not crazy about guys wearing
      Speed-o bathing suits.

      because I always wanted
      to be her “Tiny Dancer” – Elton John


    18. chris on February 27th, 2007 10:41 am

      Richard # 11 there is nothing I would like better than coming to Boston. I have very good friends in Saugus as well as Wilmington. However, I’m asthmatic and have to do the inhalation thing 3 times a day and it makes travel hard, especially taking the meds on board. Anyway, I have even asked that my friends gather up their friends and show, but they are working for Uncle Sam and unable to do so. I tried.
      I hope to be better in the future and maybe we will all get together when all this is over, if it ever will.

    19. Patti on February 27th, 2007 12:46 pm


      I found some information that is published by the Department of Justice that said drugs are brought to the U.S. (Miami and New York) aboard cruise ships from the Carribean.

      When you first talked about the possibility of Amy Bradley being a witness to smuggling, and, perhaps that being the reason that she went missing, I never realized how frequently that kind of smuggling takes place. Obviously, there are easy steps that could be made to make it nearly impossible for these drug smugglers to bring their drugs on board. I wonder how interested the cruiselines would be in making changes; or is it nearly impossible to get them to admit that such a thing even occurs, in the first place?

      I agree with you. In the case of credit card skimming, tourists are always an easy target. Many times the cards are copied right there in a restaurant or grocery store; but, one place that would be especially risky would be a bar, where they hold on to your card until your tab is closed out.

      During the time that I lived abroad, there was an American family that this happened to. The thieves were able to gain access to all of their bank accounts and made off with more than $100,000 before the bank suspected something.

    20. Patti on February 27th, 2007 1:14 pm


      You never cease to amaze me, Tiny Dancer…


      How is it that you can be so witty,
      especially so early in the morning?

      Just wanted to say, “Hey”

      Has anyone thought that we should write a letter to Mrs.
      Bush about the Natalee Holloway case? She just recently
      volunteered to help in finding the missing and exploited.
      I would imagine she would appreciate hearing from us, and
      she is one person that could do a lot to bring necessary
      media attention to the cause. She may even have a network
      of volunteers that would be willing to help out.

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