|According to reports in the AM Costa Rica newspaper, Banco Nacional has implemented new security measures designed to combat fraud.|
Costa Rica is home to many online gambling firms and the nation’s largest bank has put into practice measures to restrict money transfers to anyone who is not already on a customer's 'favourites' list. In order to be placed on the list, a customer must make a transfer to that account.
The move has effectively frozen electronic commerce in the Central American nation and comes days after a senior Government prosecutor recommended that banks should cancel most Internet-accessible bank accounts. This was in response to an investigation in August where police detained 16 people claiming that they were part of a syndicate using the Internet to steal bank passwords and defraud bank clients. The arrests were related to 13 cases of Internet fraud but officials admitted at the time that they had more than 150 active investigations regarding similar issues.
Banco Nacional stated that it would only permit online transfers with a daily limit of $1,000 unless a customer requested more. In addition, the bank said it would require customers to change passwords one a month instead of every six.
For those opening an account, bureaucratic red tape has also grown. New customers must now provide either a statement from an employer or an accountant's certification of net worth. The bank stated that this measure has been implemented to stop fraudsters opening an account only to receive illicit transfers.