46 ATM fraud cases registered in Guwahati

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Skimmer devices fitted in ATMs used to withdraw money from Mumbai

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Sept 15: Guwahati recently witnessed a spurt in ATM fraud cases. In a span of only 15 days a total of 46 cases ATM fraud cases have been registered in Guwahati alone. As per reports victims have lost a total of INR 16.85 lakhs as a result of this fraud. As per authorities, the first major case of ATM card fraud was reported from Hatigaon area of the city where a customer found a skimmer device. Further, Paltan Bazar and Dispur police stations registered the maximum number of such cases with 18 cases each.

Other places where the cases were majorly registered include Latasil and Hatigaon police stations. According to the police, these ATM card fraud cases were conducted using an illegal skimmer device which they suspect were fitted in various ATMs across the city.

Notably, a skimmer device is fitted on top of the slot where the customers insert the card. It is often of the same colour as the original card slot and thus remains camouflaged making it difficult for people to spot if any foreign item has been fitted in the ATM.

Talking about the modus operandi in such cases, Commissioner of Police, Deepak Kumar, told agencies, “The skimming device consists of a device which is fitted on the card reading slot. It scans and obtains the card data. Further, a small camera is also fixed by the fraudsters on top of the keypad panel through which they able to know the PIN.”He added that all these bank fraud crimes were conducted in a similar manner. After obtaining the data, they clone the cards and use it to withdraw cash from the victims’ bank accounts.

The police have also recovered the skimming device from three ATMs in the city which were used to commit these crimes. The devices were recovered from SBI ATM at Beltola, SBI ATM in Lachit Nagar and one from Union Bank of India at Hatigaon. According to authorities, the latest such incident came to light on September 2. Elaborating on the leads on which the police began their investigation, officials informed that they first started by examining the CCTV footage obtained from the ATMs.

During this stage, they zeroed in on a suspect who seemed to be fixing the skimming device to the ATM. Then they followed up by getting the man who turned out to be a foreign national from Turkey.  Meanwhile, the police also found that the money was being taken out from Mumbai from these victims’ bank accounts. Guwahati Police contacted Mumbai Police who nabbed the culprits IdgiImrah and Abdul HalikYurgan from Colaba. The two accused were later brought to Guwahati where they have been currently kept on seven days’ remand. The police also recovered 9 duplicate ATM cards from the two accused and a laptop.

“We were conducting our investigation in the case and during interrogation we came to know that it was a gang of four Turkish nationals who are involved in ATM card frauds,” Kumar told agencies.

It is to be mentioned that similar instances of ATM card fraud cases have been reported in other states including Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Further, the police informed that the victims who have lost their money owing to ATM card frauds will get back their money in full. As the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) guidelines, the banks are liable to return the entire amount to the victim of bank fraud if they have been notified within a stipulated time period. (with inputs from agencies)

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