Visa OneCard scam was a “Brute Force” attack by fraudsters – Republic Bank

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…new security measures may block some online activities

Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited has conclude that the recent breach to its Visa OneCard service as a “Brute-Force attack”, which is a trial-and-error- method used by fraudsters to obtain, within seconds, payment information such as account numbers, card expiration dates and security codes.

This Brute-Force attack is what resulted in many local customers becoming victims of theft, as they discovered monies missing from their accounts.

The Bank, in a statement Friday, explained that once this data is obtained by the fraudsters, they attempt numerous transactions at online merchants globally. “While many of these attempts failed, some were also authorised resulting in those customers’ accounts being debited,” the regional financial institution explained.

Going forward, Republic Bank in collaboration with VISA implemented additional authorising measures which might result in some legitimate online transactions being blocked.

The Bank is advising that customers who experience difficulty in attempting online transactions using their VISA OneCard to contact Customer Support using the following numbers: 1-800-271-4725 or 1-868-625-1200.

According to the Bank, efforts are being made to obtain a toll-free number in the shortest possible time frame.

In the meantime, Republic Bank says it is working with affected customers to detect which online purchases were unauthorised, in a bid to issue refunds.

“We continue to reimburse sums proven to have been fraudulently withdrawn. To this end, we encourage customers who suspect fraudulent transactions to their accounts to visit their nearest branch to confirm and validate their transactions,” the Bank said.

Only recently, Central Bank Governor Dr Gobind Ganga made it clear that all customers affected by the Republic Bank Visa Card scam must be refunded in full.

“That is something that we wouldn’t tolerate. If there is a fraud, it doesn’t matter how long that fraud is dated back. Republic Bank or any bank would have to ensure that the customers receive his/her appropriate refund,” Dr Ganga told reporters earlier in the week.

The Guyana Times understands that some customers have already received their refunds in full.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank Governor said he would also be meeting with the management of the Bank to ensure the situation does not occur again, or if it does, better mechanisms would be put in place to deal with the issue.

“We will be working with the commercial banks to ensure that the Guyanese public are afforded the opportunity to transact business almost risk-free,” Dr Ganga noted.

Additionally, Republic Bank is urging customers to remain vigilant in monitoring their account activities.

Moreover, the Bank, in its statement, sincerely apologised for this temporary inconvenience. According to Republic Bank, it is seeking “your continued understanding as we work towards a permanent solution with the safety and security of our valued customers being foremost in those considerations”.