CHENNAI: Days after a customer found a skimmer and micro-camera installed at an ATM kiosk in Ayanavaram, the central crime branch sleuths, on Wednesday, arrested three suspects. Sources say the investigation points to the presence of a massive network, and police are planning to search all ATMs in the city. The suspects have been identified as A Irfan (34), B Allah Baksha (30) and N Abdul Hathi (44).
Sleuths scanned CCTV footage of over a month from the area and found that Abdul Hathi had visited the particular ATM kiosk several times during that period.Police nabbed Hathi, who confessed the role of Irfan and Allah Baksha. Police have seized a number of counterfeit cards, skimmer devices, encoders & decoders, laptops, mobile phones and, interestingly, an Audi car worth whopping `70 lakh from the mastermind.
It’s suspected the trio had a bigger group working for them. “The trio was overseeing the operations, while many others were working under them, playing specific roles,” an officer said. Irfan, for instance, had cultivated contacts with people working in petrol stations and petty shops with PoS swipe machines. Baksha and Hati, meanwhile, used fake papers to trick a bank into believing that they had a company, and granting them a PoS machine.
Irfan was using the data collected with skimmer machines and making duplicate ATM cards. His ‘contacts’ were said to be helping him. Interestingly, Irfan was arrested by Puducherry police a few months ago. He was released only recently. Till then, his friends managed the operation. “Irfan would send two men to ATMs where they had installed skimmers to collect data. The suspects arrested earlier confirmed that they were being sent to ATMs at midnight to withdraw cash,” the officer said. “Meanwhile, Irfan and others would use the PoS machine they had acquired to swindle money.”
The trio had a sharing deal among them. Irfan received 70 per cent of the booty, while Hathi and Baksha together got 30 per cent. Irfan says he took care of the operations himself as he was afraid others would make mistakes.
“Irfan’s ‘contacts’ did not work for free. They were paid on a daily basis for the work they do. So were those involved in installing skimmers. Men at petrol bunks got `1,000 and people installing skimmers got `5,000 if they met their daily target,” the officer added.That apart, Irfan also used the dark web to extract data of foreign customers and swindle their money. “He cited a few websites where stolen card data are uploaded by hackers, and can be purchased by visitors. He would encode this data and withdraw cash.”Police are planning to request bank officials to check each and every ATM in the city for suspicious devices.