Skimming scammers of Tumakuru

Gang installs card skimming machines inside ATMs; siphons off over `25 lakh from victims

In a plot no less exciting than a crime thriller, the Tumakuru Cyber Crime, Economic Offences, and Narcotics (CEN) police team have busted a racket that withdrew more than Rs25 lakh from 62 victims’ bank accounts by cloning their debit cards, in Tumakuru. They have also arrested two foreigners, a Ugandan and a Kenyan national, both of whom are living in India on a student visa.

The cops managed to piece together details of the very-intricately planned racket by going through footage where they found a car to be on standby near the ATMs.

K Vamshi Krishna, Superintendent of Police, Tumakuru, said that it all began when around 62 cases of debit card cloning and withdrawing of money from various ATMs across cities throughout the country were reported, between November 3rd and December 5th. A total of around Rs 25 lakh were already siphoned off from various bank accounts in Tumakuru. With the rising number of cases, the district police took a more serious look into the matter.

MV Sheshadri, CID police inspector, took over as the Station House Officer (SHO) of the CEN police station in the last week of November and formed a special team. The team found out that many ATM kiosks in Nittur, Kunigal, Bheemasandra in the district were rigged as they had the old magnetic strip swipe technology. “The machines that entirely swallowed the debit cards and processed transactions were safe,” said Suryanarayan Rao, in-charge of all CEN police stations in the district.

The team learnt that it was the same modus operandi where a pinhole camera is attached on top of the keypad where the PIN number is keyed in and a skimming device is attached to the card swiping slot.


The police team found that with the acquired details from the skimming devices, new debit cards were cloned and were used at remote locations at ATMs across Chennai, Thambaram, Delhi, and Mumbai, the police said.


The police also visited the ATMs the victims had frequented. They received information that a black Honda CRV car would patrol the roads near various ATMs across the city, especially during September and October.

“We verified footage from the toll plaza and identified the car to have a Delhi registration number owned by a foreigner,” said a police officer.

The car belonged to an African national who had been visiting Tumakuru often. “The accused carried a mobile debit card skimming machine and installed pinhole cameras at many ATMs. The entire data read by the skimming device and PIN number captured by the camera was transferred to New Delhi where new cards were cloned, and with these new cards, lakhs money was withdrawn from several ATM kiosks across the country,” said a senior police officer.

The police said that the gang consists of six members, of which two have been arrested and have definite leads on others.

The Tumakuru district police have taken up a case and have arrested the Ivan Kabomge, a native of Uganda and a resident of New Delhi, and Lawrence Mukamu, a Kenyan national. Both of them have student visas valid till March 2021.

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Sagar Biswas

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