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Rs 9 lakh stolen from 50 bank accounts in Mumbai after cards cloned at ATM

The Mumbai Police suspect a gang that uses skimming devices at ATM kiosks to steal card details is behind the thefts.

mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2018 14:10 IST
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,cybercrime,south Mumbai ATM
The police suspect the involvement of an inter-state gang who fitted skimming devices and cameras in an ATM of Axis Bank on Charni Road (West).(FILE)

In a first major case of card cloning racket incident in city this year, at least 50 residents were cheated of Rs 9.11 lakh.

The police suspect the involvement of an inter-state gang who fitted skimming devices and cameras in an ATM of Axis Bank on Charni Road (West).

They then copied data, cloned cards and withdrew money from ATMs in Gujarat and Faridabad (Haryana).

“A small number of our customers’ accounts have been impacted through transactions carried out at a compromised ATM. We have reversed the impact in all such customers’ accounts with immediate effect to ensure they are not inconvenienced. We are undertaking a full investigation into the incident and are working closely with law enforcement officials in this regard. We wish to assure our customers that Axis Bank stands committed in protecting their interests and that we have the necessary systems to ensure the same,” said the official spokesperson for Axis Bank.

Most of the victims are employees of Government Printing Press who have a bank account in Axis Bank.

Confirming the development, deputy commissioner of police (zone 1) Manojkumar Sharma said, “We have lodged an FIR and initiated investigation to get more details on the racket. Most of the victims are customers of Axis Bank and we have written to the bank for details.”

The MRA Marg police recently registered a first information report (FIR) as the main branch of the Axis bank falls under their jurisdiction.

The complainant, Narendra Bidra, is an employee of the Government Printing Press.

In the FIR, he said that he was shocked when received an SMS alert from the bank on February 6, at 11.08pm that Rs14,500 was withdrawn from his account.

Bidra informed the bank about the unauthorised transaction.

The next day, he learnt that many people working in the printing press had lost money in a similar way.

One of the victims, requesting not to be named, said, “I lost Rs40,000 from my account. We started enquiring and got to know that 41 employees of Government Printing Press have lost money to the fraud. We compiled the details and lodged a complaint.”

“Since most of the victims are employees of the government printing press and they use the Axis Bank ATM at the Charni Road station (West), this ATM must have been compromised,” he said.

Most were cheated of amount ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs40,000 but one lost Rs80,000 to the fraud.

The Marine Drive police have received five complaints. More complainants are approaching the police and the total number of victims is likely to increase.

Senior police inspector Sukhlal Varpe of MRA MArg police station said, “We are investigating the case. If anyone has lost money in a similar way should immediately report the matter.”

Police said there is possibility that customers from other banks may also have been cheated.

The police have registered cases against unknown persons under sections 419 (cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code and 66 C (identity theft) and 66 D (cheating by personation by using computer resource) of the Information Technology Act.

“We are getting details of the unauthorised transactions from the bank,” said another officer linked to the investigation.

ATM did not have security guard: Police

The Axis Bank ATM kiosk at Charni Road station (West), which was suspected to be targeted by fraudsters, was unguarded.

An officer from the Marine Drive police station, which has also received a complaint on a similar fraud, said that the complainants have told them that the ATM did not have security.

The police suspect the fraudsters to have fitted skimming devices at night when fewer people use it.

An officer from the MRA Marg police station said it was evident from the number of people cheated, that the skimmer device was fitted to the ATM machine for more than one day. But, no one noticed it.

Another police officer said senior police officers have instructed to their personnel deployed for night duty to check unguarded ATM kiosks. “I have been checking unguarded ATMs for unauthorized devices during night patrolling,” said a sub-inspector from the MRA police station.

AXIS Bank has not responded to question on why the Charni Road ATM kiosk did not have security.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 13:57 IST