Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank is investigating fraudulent automatic teller machine withdrawals from several customer accounts over Labor Day weekend.
Bank president and chief executive officer Paul Falvey told the Gazette Wednesday that over the long holiday weekend, about 90 of the bank’s customers had fraudulent withdrawals made on their accounts. Almost $100,000 in total was withdrawn, he said, from ATMs in Chicago, Indianapolis and New York city.
Mr. Falvey said that while the issue is under investigation and he did not have all the details, it appears that individuals were able to duplicate account numbers and personal identification numbers for bank customers.
Under the likely scenario, he said, people made fake ATM debit cards. The bank is investigating how customer information was breached.
Some customers noticed the action and notified the bank, Mr. Falvey said, while other transactions were picked up through fraud detection. By Tuesday morning, he said, customers were either calling the bank or dropping by. “We made sure plenty of people were answering phones,” he said.
Those impacted were credited immediately, he said. He said there appeared to be no fraudulent activity on Tuesday.
“I think over the next few days we’ll have a good handle on the situation,” he said. Edgartown police were contacted by some customers and are also helping the bank.
He added that it is good practice for bank customers to check their accounts and review statements.
“These things are unfortunate,” he said, but added that bank fraud “is a huge business across the country and actually across the globe.” Those involved are “fairly sophisticated criminals,” he said. In 2012, the U.S. market had losses of about $5.3 billion related to fraud.
For the bank, Mr. Falvey added, “it’s all about the inconvenience to the customer. Financially the bank has insurance to cover this type of activity.”
The bank is fully insured with the FDIC and customers did not lose any money, he said.
As of March 31, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank had total assets of $505 million and an additional $182 million in assets in the trust division as of March 31. It is the Island’s largest bank.