ATM skimming is theft of card information that happens as the card is swiped in the ATM machine. A small device known as the skimmer is attached to the ATM to steal info Credit: Representational image

Agartala: The cyber crime branch of Tripura police have launched investigation over the alleged Automated Teller Machine (ATM) skimming fraud which is being reported by citizens across West Tripura district during the past 48 hours.

ATM skimming is theft of card information that happens as the card is swiped in the ATM machine. A small device known as the skimmer is attached to the ATM to steal the information of an account holder during the transaction.

Around 28 ATM skimming attacks were registered across the state by State Bank of India (SBI) customers after being duped of their hard-earned money.

Sources from the cyber crime branch on Sunday said that around 28 cases have been registered by SBI customers in West Tripura district police stations after they started receiving messages of cash withdrawal without their consent since Friday.

“This is an ATM skimming attack that has led to the illegal transaction from the accounts of many people, mainly those who had done the transaction from Kadamtala SBI ATM,” state cyber crime sources said.

Four of the nine people who were duped of their hard-earned money by ATM fraudsters on November 14

“I withdrew money from Kadamtala (SBI) ATM on November 12 and two days later, I started receiving messages of cash withdrawal from my account. Two illegal transactions were made from my account, first Rs 10,000 and then again Rs 1,000. I ran to the ATM and blocked my card,” said Rajat Kanti Deb, one of the victims.

Uttam Kumar Tudu, a BSF soldier, was another victim who claimed that he was duped of Rs 80,000 on November 14.

On Friday, nine customers were duped by skimmer gangs by withdrawing money from their accounts. “A total of Rs 2,82,000 was duped from the accounts of Rajat Kanti Deb, Manesh Debbarma, Dipak Debbarma, Chandan Bhowmik, Dr Payeli Debbarma, Uttam Kr Tudu, Bikramani Debbarma, and Partha Pratim Chakraborty,” West Agartala police said.

List of people who have registered FIRs in West Agartala police station

An official from the state cyber crime branch, who didn’t wished to be named, said, “The police have found skimming machines from four ATMs across Agartala including Battala SBI ATM, Indranagar SBI ATM, Kaman Chowmuhni SBI ATM, Tripura State Co-operative ATM in post office Chowmuhani. Account details of some customers who did a transaction in the above ATMs were stolen.”

“We are checking the machines, not only in West Tripura district but in other districts as well,” the official added.

A press statement issued by the State Bank of India on Sunday

Meanwhile, a statement from State Bank of India said, “This is for the general information of the general public that SBI has blocked a number of ATM cards of its customers as a precautionary measure. There are reasons to believe that data relating to these cards might have been compromised to some miscreants. Our customers are requested not to panic in this regard.”

In the event of any financial loss due to ‘card cloning’, customers are advised to visit respective branches. The SBI is committed to the protection of its valued customers, the statement added.

Earlier on August 27, Tripura High Court Judge Arindam Lodh fell victim to cyber fraud after Rs 1,00,000 was withdrawn from his bank account through transactions of Rs 20,000 each time.

When Justice Lodh contacted the Bank authorities he was told that the illegal transactions were made from Yamuna Vihar in New Delhi. A case was also registered with the West Agartala police station which was later transferred to the cyber crime branch.

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