In a film style ATM robbery, 20 people lost about Rs 4.5 lakhs in Thiruvananthapuram. The racket was busted after many people filed a complaint with the police, following messages they had received on their phone intimating them about transactions, which they had not carried out. Media reports state that most customers lost their money on Monday around 1pm.
Kerala police suspect three foreigners are allegedly involved in one of the biggest ATM frauds in Kerala, where 20 people lost about Rs 4.5 lakhs in Thiruvananthapuram. The money was reportedly withdrawn from ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi. An SIT team on Tuesday left for Mumbai to carry out further investigations.
The state’s Special Investigation Team has obtained CCTV video from the SBI ATM at Althara Junction near Vellayambalam, where all the fraudulent transactions were carried out. The video shows three people attaching an electronic device at the ATM counter, enabling the fraudsters to collect the PIN code and card details.
The device that was fixed above the ATM machine, had a micro camera and another device was placed in the card slot of the machine. According to the police, the micro camera might have helped in getting the ATM PINs.
The three suspects in the case
"We have started proper investigation. As per our understanding, they were here for the last 10 days. We assume they have not got any local support. Our request to the public is to change their pin numbers at the earliest. As of now we have found the device only from this particular ATM. Between June 30 and July 10, they have visited the ATM. We have also intimated CBI, Interpol and other national agencies regarding this," Inspector General Manoj K Abraham, who heads the SIT told TNM.
SBI has promised to refund customers whose money was stolen.
Media reports suggest that the fraudsters stole data using a skimming device.
This is one of the biggest ATM heists that the state has witnessed and the modus operandi followed is eerily similar to a 2009 Malayalam movie Robinhood starring Prithviraj.
So what is skimming?
Designed to look like a legitimate card slot, Chronicle Live states that the skimming device copies the magnetic strip details from your card. But the fraudsters still need your ATM PIN code. In this case, Kerala police found that a micro camera had been placed which helped them obtain the secret code. Once fraudsters have your card details, they make a clone of the card and proceed to empty your bank account.