Duo trick ATM into giving money without debiting from their account

While they withdrew money using ATM card, they ensured the bank balance remained the same

The city police nabbed a 23-year-old cab driver from Delhi and his associate for robbing money from ATMs that were not manned by security guards.

According to the police, the accused had developed an ingenious technique to withdraw cash from the account without the money getting debited from it.

Elaborating on their modus operandi, Inspector Mohammed Mukarram said the accused, after identifying a vulnerable kiosk, would block the CCTV cameras by turning them away from the machine. They would then use a valid ATM card to withdraw cash, usually a couple of thousands of rupees. As soon the machine would dispense the notes, one man would hold on to the notes without taking them out for a few seconds.

“This would trigger a message that there was a fault with the machine. Meanwhile, his partner, who had surveyed the ATM kiosk earlier, would switch off the power supply. Only then would the man holding the cash withdraw the amount,” said Mr. Mukarram.

After the process of dispensation was halted, the amount being debited would not reflect in the account. The balance never decreased, thereby causing a loss to the bank concerned.

“The accused planned the operation meticulously. Using this technique, the accused duped many banks worth several lakhs,” Mr. Mukarram said. They would also call the customer care centre raising a complaint that the ATM was faulty.

The scam came to light after a branch manager, on visiting a kiosk in Yeshwantpur, noticed that the CCTV cameras had been turned away. A police team in plainclothes kept watch on the ATM, and caught the duo red-handed on Saturday.

The accused, Shahzad, 24, and Shahid, 28, hail from Haryana. They moved to New Delhi where they allegedly committed a series of ATM frauds. “After the police stepped up security in the capital, they moved to other metros. They arrived in Bengaluru in August. Since then, they have been moving around the city identifying ATMs without security guards. They confessed to asking family members, friends and relatives to open bank accounts, mostly in nationalised banks, and borrowing their debit cards. They lived lavishly, flying to various cities and staying in hotels,” said a senior police officer.

Efforts are on to track down two of their associates. “Such incidents highlight the urgency for banks to ensure that their kiosks are manned by security personnel round the clock,” said a senior police official.

In the last three days, three skimming cases have been lodged in Parappana Agrahara police station, while some unidentified persons damaged an ATM in a bid to steal money in Channammanakere Acchaka.

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