The Banking Ombudsman for Odisha, BK Bhoi, on Tuesday called for introduction of biometric cards to curb the rising incidence of ATM frauds.
Bhoi also called upon banks to devise and implement suitable safeguards for their ATM installations to prevent people from being duped inside the counters by the con men.
Concerns were voiced by Bhoi in the face of increasing number of complaints relating to ATM, debit card and credit cards, which accounted for as high as 27 per cent of all complaints registered with the Ombudsman in 2011-12.
The complaints have mostly pertained to fraudulent withdrawal of cash through ATM counters without the knowledge of the card holder.
Of the total 1,826 complaints registered between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, a whopping 493 related to ATM, debit cards and credit cards.
As majority of these complaints were ATM frauds inducing criminal charges and investigation, they were rejected as Banking Ombudsman was not the appropriate authority for adjudication.
“However, we have noted the dangerous trend and submitted our recommendations to the Reserve Bank of India and the banks along with our annual report,” Bhoi told mediapersons here.
He pointed out that such crimes took place mostly in unguarded ATM locations and centres with multiple machines.
Along with provisioning of security guards, punch-in system of entry should be considered by the banks concerned, he said.
The Ombudsman also reflected that Odisha continued to lag behind other states in terms of complaint receipts.
In fact, it ranked second last in the table comparing miserably against states like Maharashtra, UP and Delhi, which accounted for more than 10,000 cases in a year. Though there has been a significant 62.45 per cent rise in complaints from 1,124 in 2010-11 to 1,826 in 2011- 12, there is tremendous scope for increase.
The low number of complaints was due to lack of awareness among the people at the grassroots. The regional rural banks (RRB), which constitute 27.7 per cent of the total branch network in Odisha, accounted for only 3.4 per cent of the total complaints.
“With a view to increase awareness, we are holding programmes at different places. Last year such programmes were held in Athgarh, Paradip, Baripada, Nayagarh and Chandipur. This year, we will intensify the awareness programmes,” Bhoi said.
In 2011-12, 1,819 cases were disposed of, out of which only nine cases gained awards while as many as 981 cases were deemed unmaintainable and 430 rejected.
As many as 399 complaints were resolved through mediation. The high number of nonmaintainable complaints was on account of complainants approaching the Ombudsman as the first resort without seeking redressal from the bank.
Such complaints were forwarded to the banks for resolution before being taken for adjudication. The rejections were mainly ATM-related cases which were fraudulent in nature.