At least 17 Mumbaiites who visited an unguarded ATM kiosk at Agripada have been robbed of a total of Rs 4.41 lakh by two unidentified crooks, who copied their ATM card data onto bogus cards and withdrew cash from their bank accounts.
The data theft took place at Union Bank of India’s ATM kiosk near Nair hospital. Last month, from March 26 to 30, the two accused fitted a magnetic chip (skimmer) into the ATM’s card slot and a hidden camera on the ceiling just over the keypad to record the card data and PIN of people who used the kiosk. Using this data, the duo cloned cards and withdrew a total of Rs4.41 lakh from an ATM at Ghodbunder in Thane in the first week of April.
The thefts came to light when the victims received SMS alerts about ATM withdrawals and contacted their bank, which conducted an internal investigation, scanned the ATM’s CCTV footage and then filed a police complaint on April 12. Kishor Baviskar, senior inspector of Agripada police station, said investigation was on. There has been no breakthrough in the case so far.
The two fraudsters their identity by using surgical masks while entering the ATM. It not only masked their faces from the closed circuit television camera (CCTV) in the kiosk, but also drew no attention towards them as the ATM is frequented by doctors from the nearby Nair hospital.
The unguarded ATM kiosk, which was tampered with for five days, is located at Klassic Towers in Agripada. The suspect, who wore the mask as well as a cap, would enter the kiosk, fit the skimmer into the ATM card slot and install a small hidden camera on the ceiling above the ATM’s keypad to capture the PIN. The face of his accomplice, who would be standing guard outside, has not been captured as the CCTV is inside the kiosk, officials said.
The two accused stole data for five days, from March 26 to 30, but the incident came to light later, on April 5, when they withdrew money. The Agripada branch of Union Bank of India was inundated with customers – who got SMS alerts – complaining that money had been withdrawn from their accounts using their ATM/debit cards despite the cards being in their possession.
After conducting an internal investigation, the bank found that people who had used their cards at the Klassic Towers ATM kiosk had lost money. The bank then got its technicians to check the CCTV footage. “In the CCTV feed, the green masked man was seen fitting equipment in the machine, while his partner was standing outside,” an official said.
On those five days, the duo would remove the skimmer and camera in the ATM every night and refit them the next day. “The data was used to create duplicate cards, which were then used to withdraw a total of Rs 4.41 lakh from an ATM kiosk in Anmay Kanchan Pushp in Ghodbunder, Thane,” said an officer, requesting anonymity.