ATM frauds, cybercrime worry Bhubaneswar cops

Massive awareness campaigns by police and banks notwithstanding, people continue to be at the receiving end of ATM fraudsand online scamsters in the capital city. Statistics acquired by the commissionerate police indicate that the awareness drives have had little impact on people.
Out of a total 90 cyber crime-related cases registered here in 2017, at least 45 fell under the categories of fraudulent withdrawal of cash from ATMs and debit of money through unauthorized purchases on e-commerce platforms. In 2016, 56 cyber crime related cases were registered, out of which 25 cases related to ATM theft.

“We have been sensitising people to follow precautions while withdrawing cash from ATMs. Unfortunately, many of them are falling prey to conmen,” commissioner of police Y B Khurania said. Police said the victims, mostly part of the educated and working population, were most vulnerable after coming out of ATMs. “Our investigations found that many of the victims had not pressed the cancel button after the end of their transaction. We also scanned CCTV footages and found that there are some people who lurk behind the victims. They withdraw cash after victims leave the counters,” another police officer said.

He also said they came across some cases where people disclosed their debit or credit card PINs to strangers on telephones and later found that their money is being spent on e-commerce portals.

Though the commissionerate police registers all such cases, success in solving them is slim. The statistics report is silent on the number of cyber offences – primarily ATM frauds – that have been cracked and the persons who have been arrested.

Many victims therefore blame police for shoddy investigation into ATM theft cases.

“My uncle lost Rs 17,000 from his pension account nearly a year ago. A youth withdrew cash minutes after my uncle had made transactions at an ATM machine near Mancheswar area. Though the youth’s face was captured by CCTV cameras, police are yet to arrest him,” said Taruna Biswal, a trader.

Police said they often stumble in tracing unidentified accused whose faces are recorded on CCTV camera. “We have arrested some accused in the past. In some cases, we have already circulated CCTV photos of the accused in police stations across the state. At times, we face difficulties in identifying faces because of the poor quality of CCTV cameras in ATMs,” another police officer said.
Police said also face hurdles in tracking some mobile and landline phones which are used by conmen to get information on the credit or debit card PIN numbers of people.
“We find that the calls are traced to other states. Though we write to our counterparts in those states for assistance, we hardly get the technical support,” the officer said.

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