The Hyderabad city police on Thursday busted an ATM 'skimming' gang with the arrest of two Romanians, who allegedly fixed skimmers and micro cameras on ATMs in the city.
The accused were identified as 47-year-old Virgil, an automobile mechanic and 28-year-old George.
Police said that skimmers are devices which are installed near the card reader of the ATM, to capture data from the magnetic strip on the back of a debit or credit card. For accessing the PIN of the card owners, the accused would use micro-cameras.
"The Abids Police Station apprehended the two Romanian nationals who were committing Debit Card data theft of bank customers by fixing skimmer device and body covers containing built-in micro camera and memory card above the keypad of ATMs, which allows withdrawal of money using fraudulent cards made by inserting the captured magnetic strip data," the police said in a press release.
The case came to light after a complaint by the Himayatnagar office of the State Bank of India (SBI) earlier this month.
CCTV footage was examined and the police spotted two men fixing the skimmer and the micro camera to the ATM machine on Oct 12 and 14.
"The team collected the video footage of the ATM Centre and identified two suspected foreigners moving under suspicious circumstances near the ATM centre," the police said.
Investigation officials tracked one of the accused to a service apartment in Gachibowli, where he was staying after allegedly producing a fake ID.
Besides the skimmer and mini camera, a laptop, a soldering device, batteries, speaker boxes, card readers, mobile phones, face masks, debit cards and fake passports were seized from the accused.
"The two Romanians confessed that they came to India as per the instructions of Cristi, another Romanian national. After committing the theft of debit card data, the accused has sent the same to Cristi through his laptop. He has further stated that some more Romanians entered India and are spread in different states for committing similar offences," the police said.
The case was registered under sections of the IPC dealing with cheating, besides Section 120(b) (Criminal Conspiracy), 467 (forgery) and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
In an appeal, the police also said, "The management of banks are advised to frequently check their ATM Machines for any additional devices fastened for committing theft of customer’s data. They should sensitise their private security personnel to be more observant and vigilant during performance of their duties and report any abnormality to the local police immediately."