Amounts ranging from Rs 7,000 to Rs 47,000 were reportedly withdrawn from the accounts of different people.
Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday witnessed a hi-tech purloining. An electric device with a camera was installed near a smoke exhaust on the ceiling of the State Bank of India’s ATM at Althara junction in Vellayambalam. The hi-tech thieves who had installed the device captured bank card numbers and pins and withdrew money from an ATM in Mumbai on Sunday afternoon. Amounts ranging from Rs 7,000 to Rs 47,000 were reportedly withdrawn from the accounts of different people.
The police swung into action after they received complaints from more than 50 people, at Peroorkada, Museum and Vattiyoorkavu police stations. They said they had received alerts in their mobile phones after money was withdrawn from their accounts.
Said G. Sparjan Kumar, city police commissioner, to THE WEEK: “The investigation is on. So far, we have not got any details. We are inspecting the device thoroughly. Once we get the technical details, we will contact agencies in Mumbai and track down these fraudsters.”
The SBI branch office at Althara is situated on the floor above the ATM counter. Said Pratish M.B., the bank manager, to THE WEEK: “We could not trace the device inside the ATM at the right time. The police investigation is on and it won’t be appropriate for me to speak at this juncture. I am sure the police will do the needful.”
The police are examining more ATMs in the city.
A Malayalam film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which released in 2009, had the hero, played by actor Prithviraj, enact the role of a thief who stole money from ATM counters using similar technology.
Said Sachidanandan, one of the screenwriters of the film, to THE WEEK: "We never thought at that point in time that such technology will be used in real life. Sad to know about it. In the film, the hero fixes an electromagnetic device inside the ATM counter which processes and tracks down the 16-digit number in an ATM card.”
A case of the script going haywire.