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Debit card users, ATM equals Any Time Malice

- Duping debit card holders rife in capital

Debit card holders in Ranchi, you are the gullible dupes of clever con men.

A man originally from Hazaribagh and working in Mumbai discovered to his horror that someone used his State Bank of India (SBI) debit card for a mega shopping spree in Ranchi, his case among the growing list of the capital’s ATM frauds this January.

Bhola Yadav, duped of Rs 1 lakh, filed an FIR with Sukhdeonagar police station on January 27. Yadav, who runs a canteen in Mumbai, came to Hazaribagh and Ranchi in January to meet family and friends.

Yadav alleged that a guard posted outside the Kishoreganj ATM, which comes under Sukhdeonagar thana, swindled him of his genuine debit card, gave him a fake one and went out shopping.

“I went to the SBI ATM at Kishoreganj to withdraw money on January 8. As I had some problem operating the machine, I sought the guard’s help. He took my card but could not withdraw money. After I left the kiosk, I couldn’t use my debit card anywhere else,” Yadav said.

He added that bank officials told him that the ATM card that he possessed was fake. “When I went to my SBI Hazaribagh branch, I came to know sums of money totalling Rs 1 lakh had been withdrawn from my account between January 8 and 11. My bank statement said purchases were done from Ranchi shops,” he said.

“I tried to register an FIR at Sadar police station in Hazaribagh but they suggested I register an FIR in Ranchi. As the Kishoreganj SBI ATM guard had taken my ATM card, I suspected his involvement in fraudulent withdrawal of my money as well as in handing me out a fake ATM card,” Yadav told The Telegraph.

Sukhdeonagar OC Randhir Singh said investigation was on.

To minimise frauds such as those faced by Yadav, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directed all banks to implement a system where debit card holders would have to punch in their PIN numbers every time they shopped at any point-of-sales (PoS). This move was made mandatory in December 2013.

Now, police need to crack how someone got hold of Yadav’s PIN number.

Ranchi ATM users face other glitches. On January 14, Rs 10,000 was withdrawn from a homemaker’s account from a United Bank of India (UBI) ATM at Albert Ekka Chowk.

Morabadi resident Mamta Jha visited the ATM to withdraw Rs 10,000. After she swiped her debit card and entered the sum she wanted to withdraw, the ATM machine got blocked. “I pressed the cancel button many times, but nothing happened. I called for a guard, but no one was present,” she said.

A youth suggested she try the nearby ATM. But even as she was walking to the next ATM, she got an SMS from her bank informing her Rs 10,000 had been debited from her account.

“I registered a complaint against the guard on the ATM kiosk’s complaint book and immediately went to Kotwali police station,” she said.

On the same day, homemaker Subhashini of Upper Bazar area faced an identical problem, when Rs 10,000 was withdrawn from the ICICI account from an ATM on JJ Road in the capital. She also filed an FIR with Kotwali police.

Officer in-charge of Kotwali thana Arvind Kumar Sinha confirmed both the cases. “A probe into both is on. Officials of UBI, ICICI and state police cyber defence cell have been alerted,” he said.