Days after two Bulgarian nationals were arrested for allegedly installing a skimming device and camera at a Khan Market ATM, investigation has revealed they were operating an organised international racket of skimming and cloning ATM cards across Europe and India.
DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma identified the accused as Ruslan Petrov Metodiev (43) and Tsvetelin Angelov (36). “Ruslan is the mastermind. He keeps changing his modus operandi and technology. He has links with cheats in Europe, especially Turkey, Germany and Bulgaria,” he said. Police said he “taught himself” by watching YouTube videos.
“Angelov would execute the crime. Afterwards, they would go to Goa, Bali and Thailand to party with the money,” he added.
Verma said Angelov was caught Sunday with the skimming device and six ATM cards and was taken to Tughlak Road police station. “After his questioning, his associate Ruslan was arrested from Hotel Park Inn Radisson in Patparganj where they were hiding a skimming and cloning kit along with cloned cards and cash. We have recovered 24,000 Euros, three skimming devices, including two with pinhole cameras, 260 cloned and blank ATM cards and a card reader,” Verma said.
An ATM skimmer is a device designed to look like and replace an ATM card insertion slot. When a person inserts the card into the ATM, the skimmer captures data from the magnetic strips on the back of the card. To also capture the ATM PIN, fraudsters sometimes install pinhole cameras in inconspicuous places like the the top of the cash dispenser or the deposit slot to record the user entering the PIN. Once they have the card data and PIN, the data is transferred from the skimming device to a laptop. The card can be cloned and used at another ATM to withdraw money.
The arrest was made after the assistant V-P of the risk intelligence and control unit of HDFC, Amit Sahni, filed an FIR.
During questioning, they said they would travel across Europe and install skimming devices in ATM machines. “The device would record details of ATM cards on a memory card attached to it, and they would place a pinhole camera just above the keypad to record the user entering his or her pin. Once they had the data, they would transfer it from memory cards into a laptop and make clones of these ATM cards using a cloning device on cards with magnetic strips,” Verma said.
He said that since European ATM machines had advanced security measures, the cloned cards, if used in Europe, were detected. However, in India, due to poorer security features, these cloned cards could easily be swiped at ATMs and money could be withdrawn. “They would swipe cloned ATM cards of European persons in India and withdraw Indian currency, which they then converted into Euros. The did the same for Indian ATM cards. Some of their gang members in Europe were supplying data to them, using which the two would clone even more cards and withdraw more money,” he said.
Police said they had visited Turkey, Indonesia and other countries, and would target places where they could travel on tourist visas and where visa on arrival was available.