Beware of thieves near banks, ATMs

Sunil Pradhan
Saturday, 22 July 2017

Pune: The recent theft of a processing unit of an ATM machine on Telco Road has highlighted the need for enhanced security at ATM kiosks as many criminals are active in the city trying to steal cash either from people visiting ATMs or breaking into ATM machines to steal cash from them. Following several incidents of theft inside and outside bank premises and various thefts at ATM kiosks, officials of the city police are calling meetings with bank authorities so that they can curb such crimes.

Pune: The recent theft of a processing unit of an ATM machine on Telco Road has highlighted the need for enhanced security at ATM kiosks as many criminals are active in the city trying to steal cash either from people visiting ATMs or breaking into ATM machines to steal cash from them. Following several incidents of theft inside and outside bank premises and various thefts at ATM kiosks, officials of the city police are calling meetings with bank authorities so that they can curb such crimes.

According to officials of the city police, banks have always been a target for criminals. The police said that some criminals operate inside the bank, some operate from outside the bank premises and some criminals target people inside ATM kiosks while other gangs are involved in breaking into ATMs to steal cash. Police officials said that in 2016, there were over 30 cases wherein criminals stole cash of people once they left the bank premises.

When it comes to debit card swapping, police officials said that three incidents of debit card swapping were reported at ATM kiosks between Timber Market and Katraj in May and June this year.

Senior Police Inspector Bhimrao Shingade and Police Inspector RL Vibhandik of MIDC Bhosari police station conducted a meeting with banking authorities on Wednesday. 

Speaking about the meeting, PI Shingade said that several theft incidents take place near banks and ATM machines and so it is important for bank authorities to deploy security guards and install CCTV cameras near bank and ATM premises. “Similarly, security guards should be hired after background checks. We have also created a WhatsApp group which includes officials from bank and police. Officials from the bank can discuss security issues with us on the WhatsApp group. In case, when bank official finds a suspicious person near banking premises, they should immediately alert police so that we can nab the accused,” added Shingade.  Another senior police official said that meeting with bank authorities is not a new concept but recently, some miscreants have become active in targeting people near a bank. “All police stations have details of all banks, ATMs in their premises. There is need to have a good response mechanism in such crimes,” the senior police official added.

Inside bank
Describing the modus operandi of criminals further, the police said that inside the bank, a fraudster keeps an eye on people depositing and withdrawing money. The fraudster then diverts the attention of people depositing money thereby stealing the cash. “The fraudster will ask the victim to count his money or will provide help to the victim and would steal the victim’s cash,” police officials said.

Outside bank
Similarly, fraudsters inside the bank are routing information to their team members present outside the bank about people withdrawing a large amount of cash. “Fraudsters outside the bank will then follow you and would divert your attention by throwing dirt on your shirt or puncturing your vehicle and other means thereby trying to steal your cash,” the police said.

Inside ATM kiosks
Debit card swapping, debit card stealing, skimming of debit cards are few ways when fraudster try to target victims. 

Some past incidents
† Two unidentified men inside an ATM kiosk at Udaynagar in Pimpri tricked a 26 -year-old woman, swapped her debit card and used it to withdraw Rs 69,000 from her account on May 8.
† An unidentified man opened the cash dispensing units at two ATM kiosks on Shankarseth Road and Tilak Road and stole over Rs 1.37 lakh. The theft came to light on May 24 and 25.
† Unidentified robbers tried to break into an ATM kiosk on May 25 in Pimpri.
† On May 9, officials of Cyber Crime Cell of the city police held two persons for stealing cash of people by placing a U-pin under the ATM machine dial pad so that the dial pad is not functional. Once the victim leave from the ATM, the thieves would remove the U-pin and would withdraw money from victim’s account.

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