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On April 25, 2016, Palau Customs Officers discovered ATM card skimming devices hidden inside a DVD player to be delivered to a visitor to Palau. A Fed Ex package was received by the Customs Office at the Palau International Airport. The package originated from Indonesia and was addressed to a non-resident female purportedly staying at a local hotel in Koror. Upon inspection of the package, Custom Officers discovered a DVD player concealing ATM skimming devices inside of it.

First Hawaiian Bank in Saipan was a recent target of a card skimming scheme and has notified its customers to monitor their bank accounts for any unwarranted transactions. The devices discovered in the package destined for Palau permit the user to disguise the device on an ATM machine and recover bank data, including the Personal Identification Number (PIN), from an unsuspecting card holder when they use the ATM machine.

The Customs Office with the assistance of the Financial Intelligence Unit and representatives from Bank of Guam and Bank of Hawaii identified the devices. It is believed that the package contained skimming devices for each of the FDIC regulated institutions on the island. The FIU is in communication with the U.S. FBI regarding the event.

Investigators from the Drug Tasks Force and Customs Office tracked down the addressee of the package. She was identified as a female individual traveling on a Romanian passport. She and her male traveling companion, also from Romania, were questioned extensively regarding the package. They claimed to have no knowledge of it. Because the officers lacked sufficient evidence to charge no arrest was made and the suspects departed Palau on April 27, 2016.

The community needs to be mindful of the ATM card skimming threat and notify your bank or law enforcement personnel if they discover anything suspicious with their local bank ATM.

See also full article in Island Times Newspaper clipping.

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