Bengaluru has been hit by a new problem. The city police now suspect that nefarious gangs have installed advanced card skimmers in ATMs, which can read debit and credit card information while the card is being used.
The police say, that in less than a week, 200 residents of Bengaluru have lost more than Rs 10 lakh through illegal withdrawals at ATMs.
According to a report by the Times of India, advertising professional, Rajith Ravi, from Cooke Town was duped of Rs 30,000 on Monday night when he received messages of money from his HDFC bank account at 11.53 pm.
What shocked Rajith was that his debit card was in his wallet when he received the withdrawal messages. As far as Rajith was concerned, it was impossible to withdraw money without a debit card and a four-digit pin.
He immediately filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime Police on Tuesday.
A similar incident had occurred in Kyalasanahalli, where a man named Sarvesh Aradhya lost his salary of RS 19,500 by fraudsters on Sundaynight at the South Indian Bank ATM in BTM Layout, the TOI report said.
Police suspect that the miscreants have installed skimmer devices on the slot where the card is inserted and planted pinhole cameras to record the PIN for every card used at the ATM kiosk.
These skimmers copy details from the card’s magnetic strip once it is inserted. A tiny camera, placed above the keypad of the ATM, records the pin number as the finger movements are captured, the report adds.
In Electronic City, M Azmath, a construction worker, who had saved RS 60,000 in his Axis Bank account over two years, lost every rupee on Sunday, as the money was swiped from an ATM in Thane, while his debit card was with him.
The Cyber Crime Police, on Tuesday, registered 35 complaints from people who had lost money due to illegal ATM withdrawals across the city.
Cyber Crime sleuths said that there has been an increase in complaints of illegal withdrawals in Bengaluru, mainly from ATMs in BTM Layout, Hennur, Geddalahalli, Indiranagar and a few in Mumbai and Thane.
Complaints have been filed and investigations are on. The TOI report states that 30 such cases were filed on Monday alone and one woman had lost Rs 1.17 lakh in a day.
How you can protect yourself from skimming
One of the ways to protect oneself from becoming a victim of skimming is to check machines for anything out of the ordinary before using it. If the card slot is shaky or has been stuck with glue, or the keypad is unusually spongy or soft, it is better to avoid the machine.
Another good tip is to compare neighbouring machines and see if anything is different in terms of the colour, material or the surface of the card reader.
It's useful to cover the keypad with one's palm while typing the PIN, even if no one else is in the ATM.
Switching to EMV chip cards is also another remedy, as these cards are considered safer than magnetic stripe cards.