Bengaluru, July 5: Some 200 hapless ATM users have lost a total of Rs 10 lakhs to an episode of fraud, involding illegal withdrawals, media reports said on Wednesday. The fraud is suspected to have perpetrated by a gang, who placed advanced card skimmers, that can read the data in the magnetic strip of the debit and credit cards that are used at ATM machines.

According to a Times of India report, the gangs have acquired information of multiple debit cards and credits cards, through skimmers, as well as PIN through pinhole cameras placed in ATMs across the city, and then used all this information to furnish duplicate cards and make withdrawals. This kind of crime is called the ATM card identity theft and is generally accomplished by gangs of fraudsters, who have installed the skimmers and cameras in ATM vestibules on various locations.

The TOI report said that Bengaluru cybercrime police have registered 35 complaints from people who have claimed that their money has been siphoned off through withdrawals that they weren’t aware about. Speaking to the paper about the cases, an investigating officer said, “There is a surge in complaints of illegal withdrawals from across the city, mainly from ATMs in BTM Layout, Hennur, Geddalahalli, Indiranagar and a few in Mumbai and Thane. We have registered all the complaints and are investigating.”

The officer added by saying that similar complaints were lodged on Monday as well, with one woman claiming that she lost Rs 1.17 lakh. Cybercrime analyst K S Santosh of Incognito Forensic Foundation told the paper that fraudsters are usually expected to target isolated ATM kiosks. Explaining the modus operandi of the fraudsters, Santosh told TOI, “When a person inserts a card in the slot, the skimmer copies details from the card’s magnetic strip. The tiny camera placed above the keypad of the ATM captures the finger moments.”