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Mass campaign to curb ATM fraud

- Ranchi police gear up to rein in terrorists, con men

Morabadi resident Mamta Jha went to an ATM kiosk in January. She swiped her debit card to withdraw money, but the machine acted up. Jha sought the help of a stranger and managed to withdraw money. Soon after she left the kiosk, she received a mobile alert saying Rs 10,000 had been withdrawn from her account. That is when she noticed that the debit card she was carrying back from the ATM wasn’t hers

Last week, engineer Mohammad Islam filed an FIR at Bariatu police station, claiming Rs 10,000 had been withdrawn from his Punjab National Bank account through an ATM kiosk and he didn’t know how

Naďve residents of Ranchi are becoming easy prey for a growing group of con men who either pose as good Samaritans to clone cards or claim to be RBI officials to get victims rattle off confidential account information, including personal identification numbers.

Worried by this new crime trend, Ranchi police are planning a sustained awareness campaign from June to educate the masses on the dos and don’ts of ATM use. The decision, taken at a review meeting last month, has been spurred by the pending pile of unsolved ATM fraud cases at police stations across the district.

Sources said over the past month, three cases had been reported at Bariatu thana alone and in two of them, the crooks posed as RBI officials to extract information.

Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar conceded that ATM frauds were on the rise. “Hence, from June 1, we will start our campaign to ensure safe transactions,” he said.

Police plan to distribute pamphlets at ATM kiosks, banks, malls and other places to warn residents against sharing their PIN at any cost. “No one, not even an RBI employee, has the authority to seek your PIN at an ATM kiosk. Do not make strangers privy to your details,” the SSP said, adding that 90 per cent of the cases would not occur in the first place if people stayed aware.

As a part of their strategy, police will also display numbers of local thanas at banks and ATM kiosks for easy and quick access to help in an emergency. In the second week of June, a meeting with top government and private bank officials is slated to discuss other ways to stop ATM frauds.

Another meeting will be scheduled with private security agencies that provide guards to these cash counters. “In many cases, nexus between crooks and guards have become obvious. The guards share information on ATM users who are not-so-savvy, mostly the elderly and semi-literate masses,” said an officer.


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