The Mumbai police have found that an international gang comprising Romanian nationals and local residents were behind attaching a cloning device at an ATM in Mulund that led to 50 people being duped earlier this month. The police found that two of the Romanian nationals, who were lodged in Arthur Road jail for a similar cloning case, had befriended two other accused inside Arthur Road jail and hatched the plan. While the police have detained the two foreign nationals, they are investigating the role of the two local residents who are lodged in Arthur Road jail after being arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) earlier.
An officer said, “During the course of investigation, we found that two Romanian nationals were near the ATM a few days prior to the crime. On checking our records, we found that one of the Romanian nationals had been arrested by us earlier. The accused was involved in a similar card cloning scam in Kurla in 2015 and had been arrested and sent to jail.”
“While lodged in Arthur Road jail, they befriended two other inmates arrested by the EOW. We suspect the plan was hatched behind bars and the two locals helped with logistics to the Romanian nationals. We are investigating further to check the involvement of the two locals,” the officer said.
He added, “We have detained two Romanian nationals from Delhi and will be getting them back to the city for investigation.”
The incident in question took place on December 18, when several people who had used the Kotak Mahindra bank ATM approached the Navghar police, complaining that unauthorised transactions had taken place through their debit cards. On investigation, the police found that a skimming device had been fit at the ATM for nearly four days. “The accused came to the ATM in the afternoon, installed the skimming device and left. They would come back in the night and take the details of the debit cards. This went on for three days, wherein the accused collected debit card details of the accused,” an officer said.
The accused then went to Delhi and started making fraudulent transactions using the debit card details they had stolen through the skimmer. The accused then allegedly used the debit card details of at least 43 people and made unauthorised transactions worth over Rs 15 lakh. The complainant later approached the Navghar police in Mulund (east), following which a case of cheating was registered against unidentified persons.
An officer added, “We suspect many more people are involved in the racket and once we question the two Romanian nationals, we should be able to get details about others as well.”
There are several Romanian gangs that have been busted across the world in the past in skimming cases. According to officials, Romania is known to be a centre for computer coding and some gangs used this expertise to carry out such frauds.