In a span of seven days, 87 people have reported fraudulent withdrawals from at least three ATMs in West Delhi’s Tilak Nagar area, prompting the police to set up a cyber team to crack the case.
The ATM transactions were earlier suspected to have originated from a single ATM, when the first complaint was made at Tilak Nagar police station on May 1.
But the complaints kept mounting, and police zeroed in on two more ATMs. So far, police have calculated the total amount that has been fraudulently withdrawn to roughly Rs 19 lakh. The complainants are account holders from 16 private banks, and have lost anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000.
What has added to police’s worries is not just the long list of complainants, but also the fact that a skimming machine gang may have copied their data.
“It appears that a gang had installed skimming machines to copy data of victims and make fraudulent transactions. We have put our cyber team on the case and a team from the local police station will also be deputed. A case under IPC section 420 has been registered at Tilak Nagar police station,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (west) Monika Bhardwaj.
Police have also looked at CCTV footage and have a visual of an accused who applied black spray paint on the camera. It is suspected that the accused then installed the skimming device, and waited till the end of the day to download user data.
When police began investigations, they thought that it may be the handiwork of a Romanian card cloning gang, based on previous incidents of ATM fraud. “But now we think these are locals who withdrew the money. We have some leads, which are being investigated,” the officer said.
The complainant in the case, Gaurav Sethi, approached the local police station claiming a fraudulent transaction of Rs 50,000 from his account. Police claimed that he never made any online transactions or received any suspicious call asking for bank accounts details.
Local police said they will also question security guards posted at the ATMs and spread awareness about how to identify skimming devices.
“In such cases, the first transaction is delayed or cancelled. People should check the ATM right then. It also helps the investigation if the police complaint is made on the first day, as it helps us approach the bank for further details promptly,” Bhardwaj said.
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