KARACHI: Hundreds of citizens in Karachi have lost millions of rupees over a couple of weeks after they fell prey to an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) skimming fraud, Geo News learnt Monday.
The schemers withdrew money in China, while the transactions were made in Pakistan through the fraudulent scheme.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) says skimmers withdrew money using data of 579 ATM cards. They accessed the accounts by placing skimming devices in different ATMs.
Account holders only came to know of the theft after being informed by their respective banks, the agency said.
The FIA has started probing into the matter under the Cyber Crime Act.
The matter has also been raised on a diplomatic level with China. FIA officials say they have written letters to Chinese diplomats apprising them of the details of the fraud.
Karachi’s Clifton worst hit by fraud
The highest number of incidents of ATM skimming took place at a major shopping mall in Clifton area of the city.
In order to make more and more from their scheme, the fraudsters placed a skimming device on one ATM and made others dysfunctional.
This led all potential victims of the fraud to the ATM with the skimming device.
What is ATM skimming?
ATM skimming is can be regarded as identity theft for debit cards. Fraudsters employ different techniques to record your PIN code for accessing the hard-earned money in your account.
In some instances, the schemers stick a fake card-reader on the ATM, while in others they place a fake keypad on the machine to get your PIN code.
Another technique employed in this crime is the use of a hidden camera, which records your PIN code and conveys it to fraudsters.
A few ATM skimmers also change the entire display of the ATM.
How to safeguard yourself against such schemes?
To avoid the loss of your hard-earned cash, it is necessary for you to check there is no hidden on unusual device attached to the ATM you are using.
Your PIN code is vital for the schemers and they are unable to withdraw cash with it. One must punch his PIN code in a way that avoids detection by a hidden camera placed somewhere on and around the machine.
Do not withdraw money if you sense anything unusual at an ATM and immediately inform concerned bank officials.
Chinese skimmers arrested in past
In the past, three Chinese skimmers have been arrested in Karachi for manipulating the ATMs.
On March 20, two Chinese nationals were nabbed while removing a skimming device from an ATM in Clifton. They had skimmed money from a cash machine near Teen Talwar area.
Another Chinese man was held in June 2016 in connection with ATM skimming.