KOCHI: At 6.55 am on Monday, Dr Mohammed Sabir, who works in a leading private hospital in the city, received a message that Rs 10,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account.
He then received another message informing him about another transaction for the same amount.
Then another and another and before he could act, he had lost a total of Rs 1 lakh within 15 minutes.
The doctor at Lakeshore Hospital soon realised what had happened. He had become the latest victim of cyber fraudsters.
“Between 6.55 am and 7.10 am, I received a total of 10 messages stating that Rs 10,000 each had been withdrawn in 10 transactions,” Dr Sabir said. “While four of the transactions were done at an SBI ATM at Mundamveli, six were done at an IndusInd Bank ATM. I have no clue how the fraudsters got the details of my card and the PIN. I blocked my card immediately. Around 10.34 pm, the fraudsters tried to access my account from another ATM, but failed as the card had been blocked,” he said.
This is the third incident of cyber fraud being reported by two doctors and a technical employee of the same hospital, all having accounts in the same bank.
The first was reported in April 2012 when oncologist Dr Shabbir Khan lost Rs 11.14 lakh in a single day.
The second incident occurred on October 11 this year when Thomas Mathew, a technical staff at the hospital, received an SMS stating that Rs 40,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account.
Officers attached with the Thoppumpady police station, with whom Dr Sabir lodged a complaint, said they had launched a detailed probe into the incident and will collect CCTV visuals from the ATMs from where the transactions were done to identify the culprits.
Dr Sabir said he had never used his card for any online transaction. “I did swipe it at some shops. The fraudsters may have accessed my card details from one of these. I have no idea how they managed to make a duplicate chip card and use my PIN to withdraw money,” he said.
The police officers suspect the fraudsters might have forged a card of the bank to withdraw money from ATMs.“The fraudsters may have collected the card details via skimming or there might be someone inside the bank who would have helped them,” said an officer.
‘Cooperating with police’
A spokesperson of the bank told TNIE, “The matter is under police investigation and we are fully cooperating with the authorities for a timely resolution. Protecting the interests of our customers is paramount. As a responsible institution, we place highest importance to all security-related matters at all customer touch-points.”
Dr Sabir is the third employee of Lakeshore hospital who fell victim to cyber fraud. The first was oncologist Dr Shabbir Khan who lost Rs 11.14 lakh in a single day in April 2012. The second person was Thomas Mathew, a technical staff at the hospital, who received an SMS on October 11 stating that Rs 40,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account.