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ATM ruse over phone

Durgapur, Aug 4: An employee of a private company in Durgapur has alleged that Rs 41,000 was taken away in phases from his account hours after he disclosed his ATM PIN number to a caller who identified himself as a State Bank of India official.

In complaints to the subdivisional officer and the bank, Madhusudan Nayak, an employee of Graphite India Ltd, said he watched helplessly as text messages alerting him about money being used from his account for online shopping beeped on his cellphone.

By the time Nayak went to the nearest ATM kiosk to block his card, Rs 41,000 had been withdrawn from his account.

“A male voice identifying himself as an SBI official asked for my ATM card number and pin number. He said the details were needed for verification and upgrade of my card. He told me that services would be discontinued if I did not provide the details,” Nayal said today.

The private firm employee said the caller’s “fluent English” made him believe what the man was saying. “What could I do? He was speaking like any other customer care executive,” Nayak said.

Within 30 minutes of getting the call, Nayak got a text message on his cellphone informing him that Rs 2,500 had been debited from his account for a payment to an online shopping site.

“I received 20 messages in total in a span of three to fours. I calculated that Rs 41,000 had been withdrawn from my account. I tried calling back the number but found it switched off. I realised I had been cheated.”

Most banks create awareness among customers through text messages urging account-holders against disclosing ATM pin numbers.

Durgapur SDO Kasturi Sengupta said she would forward the complaint to the police for necessary action.