Your ATMs May Not Be Safe, Be Careful

Over 200 people in Bengaluru have lost over Rs 10 lakh in a week due to illegal withdrawals from ATMs. The withdrawals were made in Mumbai and Thane in dead of night.

ATMIn a big shocker, over 200 Bengalureans lost more than Rs 10 lakh in minutes at dead of night due to illegal withdrawals from ATMs. Most of the withdrawals were made from Mumbai and Thane.

Sources in the police said highly sophisticated gangs may have placed very sensitive and ultra-thin advanced card skimmers in the ATM slots. These cards have pinhole cameras and have been programmed to read debit and credit card data during every use usage.

As soon as a user inserts his or her card, the skimmer card with the camera copies details from the card’s magnetic strip. The almost invisible tiny camera placed above the keypad of the ATM captures the finger moments to capture the secret PIN code.

On Monday the cybercrime police in Bengaluru registered 30 complaints. One woman lost Rs 1.7 lakh through a series of withdrawals. On Tuesday, 35 more complaints were registered from people who had lost money due to illegal ATM withdrawals.

The ATMs that were targeted were mainly in BTM Layout, Hennur, Geddalahalli, Indiranagar and a few in Mumbai and Thane.

According to The Times of India, Sarvesh Aradhya from Kyalasanahalli lost his entire salary of Rs 19,500 on Sunday night at an ATM in BTM Layout.  M Azmath, a construction worker in Electronic City lost Rs 60,000 which he had saved in his Axis Bank account for over two years. On Sunday night, his two years of savings got wiped out when fraudsters withdrew every rupee from an ATM in Thane.

Advertising professional Rajith Ravi from Cooke Town lost Rs 30,000 from his HDFC account at 11.53pm on Monday from an ATM withdrawal made in Thane.  He woke up when his cell started buzzing messages of multiple withdrawals.

Police have found a pattern. When they examined the complaints, they found that ATMs in isolated areas were targeted by the gangs to place the skimmer cards and camera.

Hence, one precaution: Always use ATMs that are busy or have frequent users. Fraudsters need time to fix the skimmer cards and they cannot do so if the ATMs are busy.

Experts in cybercrime investigation say that it would be worthwhile to shut down isolated ATMs during nights or step up CCTV vigil in these ATMs at nights to see if anyone is using the ATM for prolonged periods or tampering with the systems to fix cameras.

The best option is to change your PIN every week.     

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