Torres says CNMI is vulnerable too


With card skimming, and along with it information theft, reaching the Commonwealth, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres noted that the islands are also vulnerable and banks should educate the public on “an alarm that we should all be aware of.”

“With things like this, we never expect to hit here on the islands. It just shows that we are vulnerable just as much as everybody else and I hope that they tighten their security,” Torres said.

Torres said there is a need to educate the public and raise awareness with regards to ensuring security in using cards, whether debit or credit.

Torres noted that the skimming incident that was said to occur locally is “even worse for us.”

“I just learned that the incident actually is here. Earlier I thought it was more of an international issue, where they hack into the system,” Torres said.

“We should educate our community, all credit card holders to use their cards wisely and just do some public awareness,” he added.

Torres called on the banks to give information on things such as extra precautions, signs of compromised accounts, and how often one should look into their accounts.

“I would like to ask the banks to work together and come up with the collaborative effort to educate our community that vulnerability is here on our islands just like everybody else. A lot of times we try to deny our doubt that it’s going to happen here, or it’s going to happen to us as an individual,” Torres said.

With regards to tightening up security in banks, Torres said, “We’re relying on the banks to see what they can do to make more securities, tighten up.”

CNMI Banking director and Department of Commerce Secretary Mark O. Rabauliman they have reached out to the Office Attorney General’s consumer advocacy program for reminders and do’s and don’ts involving bank accounts.

He added that they are also in constant communication with the banks.

“We have been made aware of the situation, we communicated with the banks. We’re also informed that law enforcement is involved,” Rabauliman said.

Rabauliman noted that there are “a lot of concerns on what is the scope of this breach” and added that they will be inviting the banks to sit down and find resolutions to issues.

“The next step is to have them in my office, communicate with them to kind of bring them all together,” Rabauliman said, “We want to come together and find a resolution.”

“We also communicated with the Office of the Attorney General to see how we can help them out through the legality of all these things,” he added.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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