How guard beat fever to bust ATM fraud

Soifuddin, the security guard who caught a man trying to plant a skimming device inside an ATM on Tuesday night, was drenched and running a temperature when he made the bravest move of his career.

By Monalisa Chaudhuri
  • Published 10.08.18
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The ATM on Elgin Road where a young man was caught trying to plant a skimming device on Tuesday night

Elgin Road: Soifuddin, the security guard who caught a man trying to plant a skimming device inside an ATM on Tuesday night, was drenched and running a temperature when he made the bravest move of his career.

The 35-year-old from Murshidabad couldn't be sure that the person fiddling with the ATM wasn't a customer but still decided to accost him because it didn't seem like he was withdrawing cash.

Soifuddin's alertness and initiative not only spared the Kotak Mahindra Bank ATM on Elgin Road from being rigged, but also bolstered the police investigation into the fraud racket involving theft of card data with skimming devices.

"We are proud of security guard Soifuddin, who effectively and efficiently discharged his duties and responsibilities. We are planning a special security training module for guards posted in banks and ATMs," said Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, the secretary general of the Central Association of Private Security Industry, West Bengal.

Soifuddin, a father of two four-year-old twins, came to Calcutta 10 years ago to work as a guard. He narrated to Metro how the decision to follow his instincts paid off.

I was feeling feverish that night and so requested my reliever (Moizuddin) to come early. It was raining heavily. Around 8.15pm, I was changing my uniform in the server room when I heard the sound of a customer entering the ATM. After a few seconds, I heard some more sounds but the usual beeps when transactions are carried out were missing. I got suspicious and exited the server room that opens out to the rear.

I ran towards the main door. Moizuddin was taking shelter from the rain under the shade of a stall close by. I saw a man stepping out and walk away. Two others were standing outside the ATM. I thought they were waiting for their turn to enter.

I glanced at the ATM from outside and saw something that confirmed my suspicion about some illegal activity. An ash-coloured object had been attached to the machine. I ran after the suspect, pounced on him from the back and wrapped my arms around his waist.

Moizuddin came to my aid in a flash. The stall owner, Rajesh Singh, also came to help us overpower the man.

The other two men, who I had thought were customers, fled in opposite directions. I tried to chase one of them down Elgin Road, but he vanished inside the Forum mall.

Moizuddin and I pushed the man I had caught inside the ATM and locked it from outside. He immediately took out his phone and started making calls.

I called a senior official of our bank, who then informed the police. By the end of the night, I was possibly more ill than I had been. But I was also very happy to be of help. I later learned that the other two men had been arrested.