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More ATM card cloning victims surface in Punjab

Both Chandigarh and Mohali police have directed banks to tighten their security system at the ATMs by deploying more guards.

punjab Updated: Aug 08, 2018 10:34 IST
Shub Karman Dhaliwal
Shub Karman Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Mohali
ATM card cloning,Punjab,cyber crime
(Representative image )

The ATM card cloning crisis appears to be spiralling out of control.

The Punjab police cyber crime unit was inundated with complaints on Tuesday after they issued a directive to banks on Monday to share the exact number of account holders reporting fraudulent debit and credit card transactions on and after August 3.

About Rs 10 lakh has so far been stolen by cyber criminals cloning and misusing debit cards of various banks. Police said customers of Punjab National Bank and other banks were also included in the list of banks reporting cases of fraudulent withdrawals through ATM cards.

In some cases the bank officials themselves lodged complaints with the police.

It all started on August 3, after the cyber cell officials received 11 complaints from ICICI and HDFC bank customers about cash totalling Rs 6 lakh being withdrawn from their accounts on August 3.

Four days on, the number of complaints of HDFC customers has risen significantly, said station house officer (SHO),cyber crime, Samarpal Singh .

“HDFC bank has reported 31 cases of ATM fraud and today we received complaints from other banks as well. ICICI bank will submit the exact number of customers affected by the fraud in a couple of days after completing its screening process,” he added.

Most of the ATM booths from where cash was withdrawn in the last few days were from the Zirakpur area, especially VIP Road, police said on Tuesday.

Earlier, HDFC, tracing the fraudulent transactions on its customers’ card, had zeroed in on Phase 5 in Mohali.

Further investigations had led the police to BrewMaster, a microbrewery where questioning of staff pointed the needle of suspicion to an employee missing for four weeks.

Assistant inspector general (AIG) of cyber crime Hardial Mann warned the number could increase once all the information was collated.

By Wednesday, the police are likely to get the exact number of ATMs and their locations from where cash was withdrawn by the cyber criminals.

Cops privy to the investigation claim that they have got vital leads on the people involved in the crime and will nab them soon.

After police sent out alerts following card fraud complaints on August 3 , nearly four cases of skimming devices in ATM cash dispensing machines were reported from the Chandigarh Canara Bank ATMs in Sector 35, Manimajra and Sector 17.

As a result, Canara Bank has constituted multiple teams to inspect its ATMs, located across the tricity, thrice a day.

Both Chandigarh and Mohali police have directed banks to tighten their security system at the ATMs by deploying more guards.

Chandigarh Police have claimed that no fraudulent withdrawal of cash from ATMs has been reported so far in the city.

Brewery case: Two theories

How could the employee, suspected to have misused debit and credit cards at BrewMaster, a microbrewery in Mohali, have carried out the crime? He could have either attached a skimmer to the point of sale machine, or used a card reading machine to collect crucial data while swiping the cards.

“People also often carelessly give their card details including the PIN to waiters at restaurants to pay bills. He could have swiped the card in a separate card reader and punched in the PIN number later,” said cyber crime officials privy to the matter.

How are ATM cards cloned?

1. Debit and credit cards have a magnetic strip containing data. A card skimming machine copies the information from the card’s magnetic strip, capturing important data about the bank account.This data is copied onto blank debit cards by ATM cloners, who then use the card for fraudulent transactions.

2.Thieves also use overlay machines that are fitted on the ATM keypad to read the card holder’s PIN when it is typed on the keypad for a transaction.

3. Some devices are equipped with cameras to capture the PIN.

Take care

1. Keep an eye on your card while handing it for a transaction at various shopping outlets, petrol pumps, restaurants etc as your card information is sensitive.

2. When using ATM, physically examine the keypad to ensure it does not have an overlay device.

3. Grab the card insert slot to ensure it doesn’t come off easily. if it does, it may be a skimmer,and the bank should be notified.

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

5. Do not share OTP recieved via text messages with anyone while making payments online.

6.Do not share card or CVV number.

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:

1. Contributory fraud/negligence/deficiency on the part of the bank (irrespective of whether or not the transaction is reported by the customer)

2. 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 08, 2018 10:28 IST