ATM card cloning thieves strike in Mohali

The affected people have bank accounts with HDFC and ICICI banks.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2018 11:44 IST
Shub Karman Dhaliwal
Shub Karman Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
ATM card cloning,Mohali,Punjab
(Representative image )

It was a shocking Friday morning for 11 residents of Mohali in Punjab after they received alarming text messages of over Rs 6 lakh in all being fraudulently debited from their bank accounts.

The affected people have bank accounts with HDFC and ICICI banks. All transactions were made physically at various ATMs in Mohali and Kharar, while the victims had their debit cards in their possession, suggesting it could be the handiwork of a card cloning gang.

As the victims approached the Punjab Police Cyber Unit in Phase 4, the police sounded both the banks and the affected customers’ cards were blocked.

Mohali-based businessman Manish Dhawan approached the cyber cell after he received seven text messages informing him that Rs 1.4 lakh in all had been debited from his HDFC bank account by using his card at an ATM located in Phase 5.

He told the police that he last used his card at an ATM on Thursday evening.

Another victim Ankit Thakur told the police that he got two text messages at 6am that Rs19,500 were debited from his account in ICICI branch, Sector 70, by using his debit card at an ATM in Kharar.

He told the police that he worked for a private firm where all employees had salary accounts with ICICI bank. Thakur shared that some of his colleagues had got messages about their cards being blocked by the bank as preventive measure.

Harnek Singh, branch manager, ICICI, Phase 7, could not be contacted to verify this.

Confirming the fraudulent withdrawal of money from various ATMs in Mohali and Kharar, Punjab cyber crime unit assistant inspector general (AIG) Hardial Singh Mann said complaints of unauthorised transactions from HDFC and ICICI banks had been pouring in since Friday morning. “A probe has been initiated, and we are working on scanning the CCTV camera footage of the ATMs from where the cash was withdrawn,” he said.

The AIG added that an alert had been sent to banks to take proper preventive measures in the matter. Sub-inspector cyber crime Harjit Kaur said, “Card skimming cannot be ruled out in these cases, as the transactions happened between a particular time period.”

HDFC corporate affairs head Rajeev Banerjee said, “We are scrutinising every transaction made by our customers in Phase 5, as our information reveals that account data was compromised. For security purposes, we will block cards of our customers temporarily. We will ensure that the affected customers get the money back.”

Be on the safe side

Keep an eye on your card while handing it for a transaction at various shopping outlets, petrol pumps, restaurants, etc

When using an ATM, check for hidden cameras

Physically examine the keypad to ensure it does not have an overlay device

Do not rely on strangers at the ATM for operating the machine

Do not share ATM card number or CVV number

While making payments online, ensure the website is secure by checking the internet browser’s address bar for “https://”.

Zero liability of customer

  • As per RBI guidelines, a customer will be entitled to zero liability where the unauthorised transaction occurs in the following events:
  • Contributory fraud/ negligence/ deficiency on the part of the bank (irrespective of whether or not the transaction is reported by the customer)
  • Third party breach where the deficiency lies neither with the bank nor with the customer but lies elsewhere in the system, and the customer notifies the bank within three working days of receiving the communication from the bank regarding the unauthorised transaction

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 11:44 IST