In a suspected case of ATM skimming, the City police on Monday received nearly 20 complaints from persons who have claimed to have lost huge sums, totalling nearly Rs. 2.5 lakh, from their bank accounts.City Police Commissioner G. Sparjan Kumar said that the complainants said that they had lost money after withdrawing cash from the ATMs of the State Bank of Travancore (SBT) and State Bank of India (SBI) in Vellayambalam, Kowdiar and Vattiyurkavu.
On inspecting the ATM of the SBI at Althara in Vellayambalam, the police were able to recover a device, suspected to be a skimmer, which was embedded to the smoke detector on the ceiling within the facility.
The apparatus, which was found to include a chipset and a memory card, is being examined by forensic experts.
They were yet to confirm whether the device was equipped with a camera that could have been used to record the keystrokes of the customers while entering their PIN in order to facilitate cloning of the debit cards. The alleged racket had come to light on Saturday when the complainants had purportedly received SMS that large amounts had been withdrawn from their accounts in quick succession.
It was only on Monday that many realised that they were not the only victims after they found many queuing up at the banks to register their complaints.
Some also claimed that the cash had been withdrawn from Mumbai.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police G. Siva Vikram, the issue was a developing one with many more likely to come up with complaints.
“There could be many more victims who were yet to realise that they had fallen prey to the racket,” he said.
He added that as per preliminary assessment, the complainants are all believed to have withdrawn cash from the ATM at Althara. A special team has been constituted under the leadership of the Assistant Commissioner (Cantonment) to investigate the case.