Golpark ATM Fraud Robs Over Rs 20 Lakh, Skimming Case Suspected


Kolkata: One ATM, over 50 victims on record and Rs 20 lakh (and counting) lost: an entire south Kolkata locality has woken up to the city’s most audacious ATM fraud yet.

Suspecting the bank fraud to be another case of skimming, experts from leading public and private sector banks say the sheer number of people duped in this case makes it very significant.

An HDFC Bank expert pointed out that the modus operandi of the fraud indicates that a skimmer (or a copier) was installed at the Canara Bank ATM. The common thread among all the victims is that they had, at some point of time, been to this ATM and swiped their debit cards.

An e-banking expert of SBI agreed. “This could well be ATM skimming,” the expert from the country’s largest lender added. As per a banking expert, in such cases, a skimmer is fitted inside the ATM. It copies the magnetic strip of the debit card inserted by a customer in that ATM. However, only capturing the magnetic field is not enough.

The fraudsters then fit a pinhole camera inside the ATM or tamper with the existing camera of the ATM in such a way that it can capture the key board of the ATM. “Now once a customer keys in the ATM PIN, the camera captures that PIN. The second step of this fraud is to clone the card through the captured magnetic strip. Fraudsters use the cloned card to withdraw money with the help of the ATM PIN captured through camera,” an expert added.

According to sources, in all these cases, the maximum withdrawal or debit from the account of customers will be equivalent to the ATM or debit card transaction limit per day. This could be ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

As per RBI guidelines, in cases like this, customers’ liability is nil and the entire responsibility lies with the bank. The guideline says, “Third party breach where the deficiency lies neither with the bank nor with the customers but lies elsewhere in the system, and the customer notifies the bank within three working days of receiving the communication (SMS or mail) from the bank regarding unauthorised transactions, customers liability will be zero.”

An expert pointed out that in this case, there may be a breach by a third party as ATMs are not maintained by banks. “There could be some ex-employee of organisations who maintains ATMs,” added the expert. To stop being a victim of skimming, an expert feel, one should cover his fingers while keying in the PIN so that even if there is a hidden camera, it cannot captured.