60 Cuffe Parade accounts hacked in ATM fraud

Friday, 7 February 2014 - 6:20am IST Updated: Friday, 7 February 2014 - 1:18am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The police are baffled after Rs13.25 lakh was siphoned off from the bank accounts of 60 customers in Cuffe Parade.

The bank lodged a police complaint late last month. The police say it could be a case of skimming where debit cards of customers were cloned and used for online shopping.

Inspector Shekhar Tawde of the Cuffe Parade police station said a few customers of a nationalised bank’s Navy Nagar branch informed the bank that they had received alerts about transactions they had never done.

“The bank realised that cyber fraudsters misused confidential debit card details of the customers between November 16 and 27 last year,” Tawde said.

The inspector said account information of customers was used to do online shopping. “The bank has given us details of the website that was used by the fraudsters to order goods. Once we trace the website’s IP address, we might get some leads.”

The police suspect that the fraudsters used a skimming device in ATM booths to get data of customers. “It is impossible for cyber fraudsters to con so many people through phishing. We suspect that they cloned the cards after getting hold of customer account information,” senior inspector Sharad Barde of the Cuffe Parade police station said. “We are going through CCTV footage of ATMs in the area to get more leads.”

In June last year, unidentified hackers withdrew Rs17.18 lakh from 36 accounts of policemen. Investigations revealed that the data was stolen from a private bank’s ATM centre located just opposite the state police headquarters (DGP’s office) in Colaba.

There is a growing discontent about the increasing number of ATM and online banking frauds and the inability of the police to stop such frauds. According to experts, the main reason for the police being unable to stop such cases is the lack of education and proper training. “Even today, police officers are not specially trained to handle such cases. Even though there are specialised units like the cyber crime cell, there are no officers with special training to deal with such cases,” a senior officer said.

A police officer posted to the cyber crime cell spends two or three years there and is then transferred out. “Because of this, no policeman is able to develop specialised skills to tackle cyber crimes,” the officer said.

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