Panic gripped the bank customers in the city today after complaints poured in from different areas of Jadavpur that cash had been fraudulently withdrawn from their accounts within a span of 48 hours from the ATMs. However, none was arrested so far in this connection. As many as 22 customers of several nationalised and private sector banks have alleged that amount ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 was lost from their accounts. They came to know about the loss after receiving text messages of cash withdrawal.

City police stepped up vigil in the wake of this ATM forgery which amounts to Rs 5 lakh. “We are certain that this forgery was done with some device fixed earlier as we have not found any skimming devices in the ATMs in the area from where the complaints have come. So far, 22 persons have lodged complaints and we have detected two common ATMs from where all these complainants had withdrawn their money in the past several months after scanning through their ATM transaction details.

We suspect that the card details were cloned from these two ATMs and chances of hacking of accounts are highly unlikely in this case. Also most of the machines in the area are new and no skimming device has been found. The last time, we detected skimming devices from the ATMs was in April this year. A gang of Romanians were nabbed in connection with ATM fraud earlier. However, we suspect that a new gang of fraudsters are behind this forgery. But we are not ruling out the possibility of involvement of the Romanian gang since one of them are still absconding,” said joint CP (crime) Murlidhar Sharma.

He also added that over 80 per cent of the money was withdrawn from a nationalised bank and all of the ATM cards have magnetic strips instead of embedded chips. Since the money was withdrawn from different locations in Delhi, a team of officers from Detective Department (DD) are likely to visit there. The sleuths are investigating the matter with top priority and they have also sought help from the cyber experts. Joint inspection by police and technical experts will also be carried out.

The police officials held a meeting with the bank officials in the city and urged them to take necessary measures. “We have suggested the banks to install anti-skimming device and increase surveillance through CCTV footages. Since there are a lot of ATM kiosks which remain unmanned, instructions have been given at local police stations to increase bike-patrolling during night hours.

We have also urged the bank authorities to inform their customers to change PIN numbers at least once in three months so that the fraudsters cannot keep track of their transaction details,” said a senior police officer. Meanwhile, a middle-aged man from Bongaon was duped of Rs 40,000 today after a call was made to him and he divulged the debit card details to the caller, who told him that he needs to give him the details so that his card can be unlocked.