ATM, credit and debit card frauds are on the rise in the State with the banks failing to implement suitable safeguards to secure their ATM installations.
The office of the Ombudsman registered more than 2.5 per cent increase in complaints relating to card and ATM frauds in 2012-13 against the previous year 2011-12. As many as 450 complaints were filed on these grounds in the year accounting for 29.55 per cent of the total number of complaints against banking services deficiencies. While the trend reveals a gradual switch over to e-money and transactions in the State, it also presents a flip side in the shape of increasing crime.
Most of the ATM card complaints related to fraudulent withdrawal of money from the installations by the miscreants. But as they involved criminal charges and the banks’ statements showed successful transactions, most of such complaints had to be rejected by the Ombudsman, for not being the appropriate authority to investigate or adjudicate the cases. The highest number of complaints are related to State Bank of India (SBI) and its associates. Though this may be due to the sheer size of SBI’s branch and ATM network in the State, that most of the ATMs of the bank are unguarded could also be a big reason.
“We had taken up the matter with the banks, recommending posting of guards and other suitable safeguards like punch-in biometric cards at the ATM installations. These can check the criminal activities to a significant extent”, Ombudsman B K Bhoi said.
Between July 2012 and June 30, 2013, around 1,523 complaints were filed, down by 16.59 per cent against 1,826 filed in the preceding year. While fall is attributed to improvement in grievance redressal systems at the banks’ level, it has also underscored the necessity for increasing awareness among the people.
“We will ask the banks to prominently display the Banking Ombudsman system at their branches and offices for the knowledge of the people along with increasing camps and educational activities. We have seen a four-point increase in complaints from rural areas this year, which has to be further raised”, Regional Director, RBI, P K Jena said. Around 96 per cent of all complaints were disposed of.