Two men have been arrested on charges of cheating elderly citizens in Calcutta on the pretext of helping them withdraw money from ATMs.
Police said the duo, who are from Gaya in Bihar, had used skimmers to steal encrypted data from the magnetic strips of ATM cards when elderly people handed over their cards to them, seeking help in withdrawing money.
The detective department’s anti-bank fraud section has seized 38 cloned cards, which suggest that data from at least 38 ATM cards had been stolen over the past few weeks in the city, the police said.
The police arrested Mudassar Khan and Irfanuddin on Thursday in connection with four cases.
Cops could get pictures of the accused through CCTV camera footage of the ATM kiosks from where money had been withdrawn without the knowledge of the card holder.
A few weeks ago, dozens of Calcuttans had lost money from their bank accounts through ATM withdrawals in south Delhi.
More than 60 cases had been reported and over Rs 25 lakh lost.
The police had busted a Romanian gang running the racket in Delhi.
Investigators, however, feel Mudassar and Irfanuddin were not linked to the Romanian gang.
“They do not appear to be part of a larger gang. Their modus operandi is different from the Romanian gang. The Romanian gang used to install skimmers in ATMs, leave it there and later use the data to clone cards,” an officer said.
“These two men mostly offered help to the elderly, asked them for the PIN to complete a transaction and exchange the cards with old invalid ones. At times, they would confuse the elderly and swipe the cards through a skimmer pretending to help them and steal the data for later use.”
Mudassar and Irfanuddin were picked up on Thursday evening minutes before they were to board a train to Darjeeling from Sealdah.
“A skimming device, a laptop, a Magnetic Strip Reader Writer (MSRW) have been seized from them,” Murlidhar Sharma, joint commissioner (crime), said.
The two had been living separately at rented apartments in Jadavpur and Tiljala.
The seized cloned cards had their PINs written on the back, an officer said. All the cases where the elderly were cheated had been reported from unguarded ATM kiosks.
“Elderly people are most vulnerable... they often find it difficult to follow the steps in different ATM kiosks and end up seeking help from guards or someone waiting to withdraw money,” an officer said. “Cheats keep watch for such people and offer help seeing them fumble at the kiosk.”