BHOPAL: It started as a normal day at the cyber cell of Bhopal police. Someone complained that his debit card has been hacked and money withdrawn from his account. Sadly, such news is not uncommon these days. Then came another similar complaint. And another. And soon it was a flood.
It didn’t take long for cops to join the dots and realize that all the victims had made their last ATM transaction at the same place in Bhopal’s Gulmohar locality over the past week. And all the fraudulent withdrawals made at an ATM in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. At last count, more than a dozen city residents had lost their money in the latest racket. Police suspect their cards were cloned. Exactly how, they don’t know yet. The Gulmohar ATM has been sealed and forensic experts are going through it. SP cyber crime, Shailendra Chauhan, told TOI, “All those who have fallen prey to the fraud had made their last ATM transaction at an SBI ATM at Shivay Complex in Gulmohar in the last few days.” All the withdrawals were made at a Bank of India ATM in Ahmedabad, cops said.
“It is suspected that the cards were cloned when they were used by customers at the ATM. Tampering of the ATM machine or software is not ruled out. However, nothing much can be said at this moment. We have sought a report from the company operating the ATM machine and have sought CCTV footage,” Chauhan said. Police have issued an alert to ATM users to watch out for any suspicious object in the kiosk. “So far, we received complaints from around 12 people and the amount of fraud could be above Rs 5-6 lakh,” Chauhan said.
Sources said that by late evening more than 30 people had reached the cyber cell police station to register their complaint. And these numbers could be more, because majority of the victims had used the ATM 4-5 days ago.
Of the victims, some have lost Rs 10,000, some Rs 20,000 and some Rs 40,000 on a single transaction before they could go ahead block their card, said sources.