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ATM snoop waits in line and steals Rs 90,000 from 74-year-old woman

The man allegedly entered the kiosk after her and confused her by saying that double the amount she typed had been debited from her account

Monalisa Chaudhuri Golf Green Published 03.08.21, 03:10 AM
The ATM kiosk in Golf Green.

The ATM kiosk in Golf Green. Telegraph Picture

A 74-year-old woman from Golf Green who had gone to withdraw money from an ATM with her son’s debit card met a man in the queue outside the kiosk who offered her his place and allowed her to withdraw money before him.

However, the man allegedly entered the kiosk after her and confused her by saying that double the amount she typed had been debited from her account. He then apparently advised the woman to take out a mini-statement to verify the withdrawal.


The man allegedly spied on her PIN when she entered it to take out the mini-statement before replacing her ATM card with another card of the same private bank where her son has an account.

Even before Sanghamitra Ghosh could return home, a short walk from the ATM, Rs 90,000 had been withdrawn from her son’s account.

Police suspect the card handed to the woman was a stolen one.

Ghosh, who has lodged a complaint with Golf Green police station, went to an ATM of the State Bank of India on Uday Shankar Sarani on Saturday morning, the police said.

“She mentioned in the complaint that she saw a man standing outside the ATM kiosk waiting for his turn to enter. But on seeing her, he offered to let her go in first. The woman had withdrawn Rs 10,000 when she suddenly realised that the man had entered the kiosk and was standing behind her,” an officer of the police station said.

The woman’s son, Bodhisatwa, a senior executive at an advertising agency, said he was on an office call when he started receiving text messages about money being debited from his account.

“I knew my mother had stepped out to withdraw Rs 10,000. But then there were messages of withdrawal of another Rs 90,000 in multiple transactions,” Ghosh said.

As his mother returned home and told about the person who “helped” her at the ATM, he discovered that the card she was carrying was not his. It belonged to one “Rupam Das”, Bodhisatwa said.

“I am worried about my stolen money. I am equally concerned about the safety and security of all elderly persons, who are so vulnerable to such frauds. Is it not the duty of the bank to deploy a guard to help people of her age so they can’t be duped like this?” said Bodhisatwa.

The police said the Golf Green kiosk from where Ghosh had withdrawn the money was unguarded.

“Despite repeated communications, banks are reluctant to deploy guards at ATMs,” said an officer at Lalbazar.

The majority of the banks — private as well as nationalised — do not deploy guards at ATM kiosks as a cost-curtailment measure, several bank officials told The Telegraph.

A bank official said guards are only posted at the ATMs that are attached to branches.

“There are CCTVs in the ATMs and in case of any crime, if the victim can fill in a form and prove that he or she was not at fault, the amount is usually compensated,” the bank official said.

“As the money is insured, banks, too, do not incur any loss.”

The officers investigating the Golf Green case said they had collected the details of “Rupam Das”, who is a customer of the private bank where Bodhisatwa has an account. Das has not yet reported any ATM card theft, the police said.

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