As ATM fraudsters continue prowling, hapless victims get cold response from banks
NEW DELHI: Have you ever faced this dire situation when you insert your debit card at an ATM in an unguarded area and then your card gets stuck in the machine? If yes, you are not alone.
Fraudsters on two-wheelers are prowling around unguarded ATMs to pounce on unsuspecting debit card users to cheat them of their hard-earned money/savings by cloning the cards and even deftly replacing them.
The story doesn't end here because a few moments after your card is replaced by fraudsters, one starts getting a series of shocks as the person would get a message about withdrawal from the account linked with the debit card.
By the time you realise that you have been tricked, you are robbed of a few thousands to a couple of lakhs.
Hard to believe, but the story is true.
Many such gangs are operative in several parts of the country in the garb of helping hapless debit card holders who might have punched in PIN for withdrawal.
But after dispensing money, the card gets stuck and the ATM screen starts displaying balance amount, phone number and other details.
As soon as you realise that something is wrong with the machine, two or three persons would barge in and one of them would engage you in a conversation while the other would replace your card with another one.
In no time, they will be gone and thereafter your registered mobile will receive messages of withdrawal after sometime.
By the time the panic-stricken customers call up the bank for blocking the card, he or she is already down by a few thousands.
Card deactivation itself is a tedious process as banks don't have a dedicated line or team to handle such issues.
As the card is being blocked, many more thousands are gone.
Disappointed card holder would be forced to recall 'RBI Says.' or 'RBI Kehta Hai.', an ad campaign often seen either on electronic, digital or print medium.
Following RBI advice, you would approach your branch and simultaneously file a case with the cyber crime branch, thinking that they would help in getting back your money.
However, banks would come up with a standard reply that your PIN may have been compromised, so it cannot refund money while the cyber crime branch may not have time for your case as they have files of such cases.
So your case is one in thousands.
If the issue involves more than one bank then coordination is another issue.
As per the RBI data, 65,893 frauds related to 'Card/InternetATM/Debit Card, Credit Card & Internet Banking' have taken place in 2021-22 involving a sum of Rs 258.61 crore.
There are some customers who have faced such instances and have shared their experience.
For example, a senior journalist in Delhi faced swapping of his card at one such ATMs.
His private sector bank debit card was replaced by a public sector bank's card on the pretext of helping him to take out his stuck card.
He realised that he had been tricked within 10 minutes after the ATM incident when he received withdrawal notifications on his mobile.
He called the helpline to block the card and, to his surprise, money was being debited from his account as the bank's customer care person took time to deactivate the stolen debit card.
To show that he had call details but neither the concerned bank admitted the call details nor the RBI Ombudsman considered it after following the RBI's advice of lodging complaints sooner than later.
The bank expressed inability to accede to the request for reversal of the amount lost after the complainant deactivated the card.
"Complaint is rejected under Clause 16(2)(a) of the Reserve Bank - Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, 2021 : 'In the opinion of the Ombudsman, there is no deficiency in service," reply he received by the concerned Ombudsman.
Same day a similar incident happened again in East Delhi where the victim was a housewife, who went to the home bank ATM of a public sector lender but in this case the stuck card was replaced by fraudsters of the same bank.
With the stolen card, the fraudsters had done shopping by swapping cards.
Notification of withdrawal alerted the customers and deactivation was done after losing close to Rs 1 lakh.
Fraudsters are inventing new ways of cheating customers on a daily basis while the grievance redressal mechanism is not getting corrected at the same pace.
There is an urgent need for the grievance redressal mechanism to be nimble-footed so that the digital and less cash transaction can be promoted.