Pune: Three persons, including a Nigerian, have been arrested by Pune city police Cyber Crime Cell for allegedly withdrawing Rs 60 lakh from accounts of 134 people by cloning their ATM cards. The accused had got their card details from 11 ATM centres in different parts of the city in the last three months.
The accused have been identified as Karan Mehar Sonar (38) and Nigerian national Boby Ugochukwe (58), both residents of Mira Road in Thane, and Arl Andew Lawrence (37) of Vasai East in Thane. They are in police custody till October 23.
Profile of accused
Sonar is 12th pass and has worked with a call centre. Lawrence also has experience of working in a business process outsourcing (BPO) call centre, while Ugochukwe, who came to India long back on a business visa, claims to be a priest at a church. The police said that they have the spent huge amount which they stole.
According to the police, there have been several cases of withdrawing money by card cloning reported in the last three months. The accused have been arrested in a case registered with Koregaon Park police station on October 8, wherein a 27-year-old youth stated that someone had withdrawn Rs two lakh using his debit cards in Mumbai.
“While investigating the case, we found that the complainant had used his debit card to withdraw money from ATMs of different banks located in Magarpatta City, Koregaon Park and Appa Balwant Chowk. All these ATMs do not have any security guard. We got the CCTV footage and after a thorough analysis, we zeroed in on the accused,” said Police Inspector Manisha Zende from the cyber crime cell.
The police have seized a skimmer machine with a magnetic card reader, ATM parts which they had modified with two pinhole cameras, and mobile phone circuit to automatically transfer video and data, router, portable chargers, etc and 24 cloned ATM cards, from the possession of the accused.
DCP (cyber cell) Sudhir Hiremath said, “The accused persons had targeted ATMs where there is an exterior slot to insert cards. The accused persons had recced such ATM centres belonging to different banks and where there was no security guard deployed. Such has been their practice that it took just one and half minutes to put their slot and fit the camera.
A person used to stand near the ATM centre with the Internet router. So when a customer went to withdraw cash, he would swipe the card and enter the PIN but could not withdraw money and leave without suspecting anything fishy. The accused had programmed their set up in such a manner, that every 10 minutes, the card details and video of the customer entering the PIN, used to get uploaded on Google Drive.
Another accused used to make the cards which were being used to withdraw money in different locations like Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Daman, etc. So, the accused used to withdraw money even though the original card remained with the customer. It is the first time such a modus operandi has come to our notice.”
Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Gavte, who thoroughly studied the footage and modus operandi, said, “It is big network wherein several accused played different roles. Till now, three of them have been arrested and a search is on for others. The Nigerian national had come here on a business visa, which expired long ago.”
The investigation team included Police Inspector Radhika Phadke, PSI Vikram Misal, and police personnel Deepak Bhosale, Kiran Abdagire, Navnath Jadhav, Anup Pandit, Adesh Chalwadi, Shirish Gawde, Somnath Borde, Sheetal Wankhede.
Dos and Don’ts of ATM card
-Make sure you are inserting card in the right slot without any modification there.
While entering PIN, make sure there is no additional camera on the machine or under the ceiling.
If you notice any modification in slots or find an additional camera (other than CCTV and inbuilt ATM camera), alert police and bank officials.
IIf no security guard is present at the ATM, write in complaint book.
Don’t share PIN with hotel, restaurant, petrol pump staff while making payments.
Don’t share ATM card number, PIN, CVV number with anyone.