The ATM where the skimmer was installed belonged to a local co-operative bank that has an ATM near the Lashkar court located in Camp - merely 500 metres away from the Lashkar police station.(HT FILE PHOTO)
The ATM where the skimmer was installed belonged to a local co-operative bank that has an ATM near the Lashkar court located in Camp - merely 500 metres away from the Lashkar police station.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Skimmer found in co-op bank ATM in Camp, case registered

The video showed how machines allow fraudsters to steal your card information exist in plain sight and look just like the slot where a card is inserted
By Shalaka Shinde | Hindustan Times, Pune, Pune
UPDATED ON NOV 30, 2020 04:35 PM IST

A case of cheating was registered at Lashkar police station in an incident where a video of a local police inspector warning people of skimming methods was used by fraudsters to rob people’s card credentials.

The video showed how machines allow fraudsters to steal your card information exist in plain sight and look just like the slot where a card is inserted.

The device that looks like the slot is called a skimmer.

The ATM where the skimmer was installed belonged to a local co-operative bank that has an ATM near the Lashkar court located in Camp - merely 500 metres away from the Lashkar police station.

“The bank contacted us when they realised there was something wrong. We went there with experts and conducted a search. There was a skimmer on the card slot and a curved surface with a camera in it attached above the panel where you input the PIN. The panel is just the right size to fit the area and the skimmer is just rightly made a little bigger to fit the card slot and if you’re not looking for it, you may never find it,” said senior police inspector Ashok Kadam of Lashkar police station who is investigating the case.

The video of the skimmer being pulled from over the actual card slot of senior police inspector Ashok Kadam was shared on social media by the likes of Anil Deshmukh, state home minister; and actor Riteish Deshmukh.

Incidentally, just after the video was shared widely, an assistant sub-inspector of Pune police fell victim to card cloning bid and lost Rs 1, 30,000 in the process.

The card is believed to have been cloned after the information was stolen through a skimmer in a locally-based ATM.

“We have registered a case and are on a lookout for suspects in both these cases,” said PI Kadam.

“A few weeks ago, we arrested a person in a similar case. During Diwali, as people shop and spend cash, we had issued awareness warning through various modes which I’m sure has led to some prevention,” said senior police inspector Rajkumar Vaghchaure of cyber police station.

These skimmers are mostly seen in ATMs which are remotely located and less frequented by people, according to PI Vaghchaure. If the camera that captures the PIN can be detected in time, further use of stolen data can be prevented.

“People have to be very careful while entering their card credentials in places like the ATM, restaurants, petrol pumps - ensure that nobody is looking at or has access to your pin,” said PI Vaghchaure.

The ATM card cloning has been a method of cheating people of their hard-earned money for years.

Along with card cloning, other forms of cybercrime activity has gone up manifold according to a threat report published by McAfee, a device to cloud cybersecurity company.

According to the report, India was among the top 10 countries that were targeted for various kinds of cyber-attacks.

Globally, the company’s threat dashboard recorded a 605 per cent increase in Covid-19 related attacks in the second quarter compared to the first quarter.

HT INTERVIEW

Senior police inspector Ashok Kadam (HT)
Senior police inspector Ashok Kadam (HT)

HT spoke to senior police inspector Ashok Kadam on precautions that citizens must take to save themselves from skimming.

What is skimming?

Skimming happens when the digital data of a card is stolen. That data can be used to make another similar card - cloning. Using the PIN, whoever has access to card information, can withdraw money. The second part is - installing a camera over the space where you input the PIN.

How to save oneself from this?

Two small things should be followed to save yourself from skimming. Whenever you visit an ATM, the part where the card is inserted, try to move it. If it moves even a little, do not insert your card. It is quite probable that it is a skimmer. And, secondly, to prevent the camera from capturing your PIN, cover your hand while entering the PIN.

Why did your video strike such a chord with so many people?

There have been a few cases. There was a recent case where a police staff lost over Rs 1 lakh from his bank account even though he had never given his card to anyone and had not shared his pin with anyone. His card had been cloned. There were 24 different transactions. Sometimes, when the withdrawal amount is less than Rs 10,000, you do not get an SMS of the transaction. So, the transactions were of less than Rs 10,000. Common people value their hard-earned money and it is a sensitive issue for them. When I released the video, it provided a way of preventing theft of that very money. When the home minister tweeted the video, it reached a far bigger audience.

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