Money & Banking

Rs 2.5 lakh 'skimmed' in serial ATM fraud in Thiruvananthapuram

VINSON KURIAN THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 09, 2016

The Kerala Police has set up a 40-member team, including cyber experts, to probe the serial fraud in which bank customers here lost lakhs of rupees through suspected 'skimming' from ATMs in Mumbai.

The city police received 20 complaints of loss of money subsequent to customer transactions in Thiruvananthapuram, in what is the first coordinated event of fraud being reported in Kerala.

SBI, SBT branches

The fraud was reported from on-site ATMs at State Bank of India (SBI) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) branches in the central business district, G Sparjan Kumar, City Police Commissioner, said.

The unauthorised transactions came to light on Saturday when the complainants reportedly received messages to the effect that large amounts of cash was withdrawn from their accounts.

The police quantified the losses at Rs 2.5 lakh, but according to unofficial accounts at least 50 such cases have been reported, though most failed to turn up with their complaints on Sunday.

It was only on Monday when the complainants bumped into each other at the bank branches that they realised they were not alone in having been duped.

Embedded skimmer

Meanwhile, yesterday (Monday), the police recovered a device, suspected to be a skimmer, embedded in the smoke detector on the ceiling of an ATM cabin.

It also incorporated a chipset and a memory card, which are being inspected by forensic experts. It is yet to be ascertained if it also carried a camera to record keystrokes that punched in the PIN of a customer, which the fraudsters could use to clone his debit card.

G Siva Vikram, Deputy Commissioner, said the fraud could unravel further in the coming days as more people discover that they have been laid low by fraudsters in this manner.

City police sources said this morning they have captured video shots of suspects who appeared to look like foreigners. A police team has left for Mumbai to conduct further investigations.

Published on August 09, 2016
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