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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Rattled by ATM card cloning cases, UT police ring out a note of caution

Monica Sharma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, March 12, 2013
First Published: 23:53 IST(12/3/2013) | Last Updated: 23:56 IST(12/3/2013)

In the wake of 43 complaints received regarding cloning of ATM credit and debit cards in the last two months, Chandigarh Police on Tuesday sounded a note of caution to city residents to be careful while using the facility at different outlets for shopping and even refueling their vehicles.

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Inspector Kirpal Singh, posted at cyber crime cell, said that losses due to card cloning ranged from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. Most cases pertained to use of debit and credit cards for shopping and even refueling.  The cards were issued by ICICI, HDFC, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India etc.

UT police has since sent SMSes to city residents on mobile phones, asking them to exercise caution while using cards. “While using ATM/credit/debit card at petrol stations, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants, keep a watch on your cards to avoid cloning,” said the message from UT police.

Police said most victims were taken aback in the past after receiving messages on their cell phone about use of their cards in cities they had never visited. The victims complained to police that their cards had been misused for expensive shopping, besides withdrawal of money from their bank accounts.

Police said they were looking into complaints to figure out how the money was withdrawn from accounts of complainants without the use of original ATM cards.

A police officer maintained that investigations into ATM card cloning cases were complicated since the crime took place in other cities or states.

Police speak
UT IGP RP Upadhyaya said that SMSes had been sent to city residents to spread awareness among the public at large on the issue. Cautioning the residents, he said that they should look out for adhesive tapes on ATM machines since these are used to attach devices for stealing data from cards. He also advised people not to permit swiping of their ATM card away from their sight.

How to prevent cloning?
.
 Be watchful while debit/credit cards are being handled
. Register your mobile number with the bank, so that you get an SMS in case of transaction from your account 
. In case a message is received on the use of debit or credit card on your mobile phone, inform the bank immediately to freeze all future transaction
. A complaint should also be lodged with police immediately
. Before inserting your card in the ATM machine, run your finger over the slot used for inserting the card; if there is any device inserted in the slot for stealing data, it would fall off  
. Contact your card provider if you suspect any ATM has been tampered with. Call up the customer care people and even inform the security guard at the ATM
 
How is cloning done?
When a person hands over his debit or credit card at a petrol pump or some eatery and fails to keep a tab on its use, the unscrupulous staff could swipe it on a small 'skimmer' machine kept in his pocket. The entire data is thereby copied through cut and paste. After return of the card to its owner, the miscreant takes a new card and transfers the data on to it. 

How ATM fraud is committed?
It is an organised crime where frauds install equipment on bank ATM to lift both the ATM information and the PIN code. The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN is cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment.

A 'skimmer' is mounted on the front of the ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number. At the same time, a camera disguised to look like a leaflet holder is mounted in such a position to record the entries of ATM PIN code. On the basis of information thus obtained, the frauds produce a cloned ATM card and use it at another ATM to withdraw money or use it for shopping.

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