Four men who allegedly swindled Rs 19 lakh from over 88 people by installing skimming machines in ATMs in South and West Delhi were arrested Friday evening.
The accused have been identified as Dharmender Saini (38), Siddharth (30), Sunil Kumar (36) and Mayank Shukla (27), who are residents of Delhi. They were allegedly part of a gang which also operated in other states, police said.
Police first registered a case in the matter on May 1 when one of the victims, Gaurav Shethi, registered a complaint with Tilak Nagar police station for unauthorised withdrawal of Rs 50,000 from his savings account. Over the next seven days, 87 other complainants from the area had approached police with similar complaints.
DCP (West) Monika Bhardwaj said some of the accused were involved in similar cases in the past and had been operating since 2013.
“They were identified through CCTV footage. A countrymade gun was recovered from the main accused, Saini, along with 16 cartridges. The men were arrested based on technical surveillance, analysis of dossiers and secret information. Several more complaints have already been received at Tilak Nagar police station, which are being investigated,” she added.
Among the things recovered from the accused are 300 white cards used for cloning, 85 used cards, 30 debit cards, four plastic panels filled with battery, chips and a small camera, three cars, two laptops and Rs 15,60,000.
“During questioning, the accused said they would conduct a recce of the area and identify ATMs without guards. Shukla would enter the kiosk and spray a chemical on the CCTV camera. Saini would then install a skimming machine with a panel — that included a memory card, battery and camera — on the machine. Whenever a person withdrew money, their ATM data would be copied in the machine and password captured in the camera,” said Bhardwaj.
According to police, the accused disclosed that they installed machines in several areas, including Dwarka, Mahipalpur, Palam and Vikas Puri. Police added that Saini was involved in more than 20 cases of fraud in Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai. Efforts are on to nab their associates, police said.
Similar cases have been reported in recent months in the city, some of them involving foreign nationals. On March 29, a 40-year-old Romanian man was arrested by the cyber crime cell unit for allegedly trying to plant a skimming device inside an ATM in Mehrauli.
Rakshit Tandon, a cyber-security expert, said the rise in the number of such cases calls for better security systems.
“We need to update our intrusion systems. If I use my ATM card in Delhi today and use it in another part of the country tomorrow, the machine should ask for a verification, like an OTP. The reason why we are seeing several such cases is because there is less security in and around ATMs. CCTVs installed in them are also of bad quality,” he said.