BENGALURU: Tumakuru police have busted a cross-country ATM skimming fraud racket and arrested two Africans – a Ugandan and a Kenyan – who had allegedly withdrawn over Rs 25 lakh from ATMs of 10 banks, in cities across the country.“The accused, Aiwan and Lawrence, withdrew huge amounts of cash using duplicate ATM cards,” said Inspector General of Police, Central Range, Seemant Kumar Singh.
It’s the modus operandi of Aiwan and Lawrence that has shocked the police. “They gathered data of ATMs which are old and do not have in-built anti-skimming device. They drove around Bengaluru, Tumakuru, Mumbai, Chennai and Vellore, where they skimmed the machines. They travelled in a Delhi-registered Honda CR-V,” the IGP said.
Fraudsters skim ATMs by placing a stealth device on the face of an ATM, which appears to be part of the machine. They install a small pinhole camera in a brochure holder near the ATM, in order to extract a user’s PIN. The skimmers gather account data from the cards swiped at the ATM, put it on blank or duplicate cards, and use the PIN to withdraw cash.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that they had withdrawn over `25 lakh using duplicate debit cards from ATMs of 10 different banks. They used to withdraw small amounts at a time to escape detection. The figures of the unauthorised cash withdrawal are likely to go up as investigation picks up pace in other places,” said Singh, adding that police are looking for two other accused, who are absconding.
The officer said in Tumakuru alone, there are 60 complaints regarding ATM skimming fraud, which led police to put together all complaints and a pattern emerged, and put them on the trail of the accused. The police have, meanwhile, alerted banks whose ATMs were compromised. Aiwan and Lawrence came to India on student visas and are currently studying in New Delhi.