THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a suspected case of skimming using wireless magnetic data receivers, over Rs 2.4 lakh was stolen by fraudsters from dozens of individuals who used three ATM machines, including the one next to the state police headquarters here. The thieves withdrew money from a nationalised bank in South Mumbai on Sunday using the data from the card that was suspectedly leaked and stored by thieves in the past weeks.
Around 16 people registered complaints with the police in the city on Monday and bank officials confirmed to have received around 12 complaints and several distress calls from victims. All of the victims had used SBI and SBT bank ATMs at Althara, Vellayambalam and Vattiyoorkavu in the past week. Most of them realised about the attacks after receiving SMS messages of money being withdrawn from their accounts on Sunday.
“I lost Rs 10,000 and another Rs 7,000 in quick succession and my account was left with Rs 700 on Sunday afternoon. I could not contact the branch as it was holiday but managed to block the card by calling customer care. On Monday morning, when I reached my branch to file a complaint, I found that many others had also turned up with the same problem. So we registered a case with the local police,” said Anu Chandran, a victim.
The police said there could be more victims as many, including senior citizens, might not be aware that they have been robbed. The police managed to recover a spy device embedded to smoke detector from the Althara branch of SBI. The forensic team was verifying the device which has chipset and memory card all powered by a mobile phone battery.
“It cannot be confirmed whether there was a camera inside,” said city police commissioner Sparjan Kumar. IG (Thiruvananthapuram Range) Manoj Abraham said that this could be a case of phishing where bank details might have been stolen online from rigged ATM machines. A special team backed by cyber cell officials has started a probe....