Creating tech snag, gang loot money from ATMs

An inter-state gang of fraudsters who targeted unguarded ATMs centers and looted money were nabbed by the Hyderabad police on Monday.

Published: 18th December 2018 05:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th December 2018 06:55 AM   |  A+A-

Police showing the debit cards recovered from the gang members in Hyderabad on Monday | S Senbagapandiyan

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: An inter-state gang of fraudsters who targeted unguarded ATMs centers and looted money were nabbed by the Hyderabad police on Monday. The gang members followed a first-of-its kind modus operandi to create a technical error in the machine while withdrawing money, due to which they would collect the amount but the bank would registere it as an incomplete transaction. The accused would later register a grievance with ATM ombudsman claiming ‘failed transaction’ and receive the amount from the ombudsman.

As many as 31 debits cards belonging to their family members and friends were recovered.
The accused have been identified as Akhlak Ahmed, Muntheej and Tofik of Haryana and Tasleem and Sakir Mohammed of Rajasthan. Three of them are studying ITI while one has completed 10+2 and the other is a farmer.

Modus operandi

Police said they would withdraw money from ATMs and switch off the machines’ power so that cash withdrawal entry was not recorded. The accused would then lodge a complaint with the banks that they didn’t get money when they tried to withdraw it from ATM.

Hyderabad commissioner Anjani Kumar explaining the modus operandi said the gang  came to Hyderabad a month ago and started targeting ATM kiosks which are not guarded.  The gang operates in groups of two.  Usually two members enter the ATM centre to withdraw money. One of them operates the machine using a debit card belonging to their friends, family members or relatives. When the money is about to be dispensed from the machine, the second person fiddles with the machine resulting in a technical error in the machine.

As a result the cash would be dispensed but the transaction in the bank server registers as a failed or incomplete transaction. Meanwhile, the person operating the machine collects the cash covering the camera on the machine to avoid being captured while collecting the cash, Anjani Kumar said.

Later they lodge a complaint with the bank stating that they could not withdraw the cash from the machine. The complaint will be forwarded to the bank concerned and further verification from the bank reveals that the transaction failed because of error in the machine. The gang later get the amount through banking ombudsman, as it mandates the bank of the ATM concerned to pay back the amount to the customer, considering them as victims of failed transactions. 

“Taking this technical lapse as advantage, the accused committed several such frauds. Seven incidents have come to our notice, of which two are confirmed in Nampally area, while the other five are under verification from the respective banks. They also made sure to deposit the amounts immediately into their accounts to avoid recovery if they are caught,’’ he said.  

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