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Dhaka Tribune

Foreigners suspected in ATM skimming

Update : 15 Feb 2016, 08:08 PM

Foreigners illegally staying in the country are suspected to be involved in the ATM booth skimming, investigators have said.

The link was found after video footage from the CCTV cameras inside the ATM booths showed the presence of a person who looked like a foreigner setting up skimming devices. The analysis of the devices used for skimming the information of debit and credit cards also suggested the possibility of foreigner involvement.

Criminals around the world use such a device for stealing money from ATM booths, and now it was happening in our country, detectives said.

Police have already conducted several drives and arrested a number of foreigners who were not only staying illegally in the country but were also involved in different crimes, said Detective Branch chief Monirul Islam.

Asked what actions were being taken against illegal foreigners, the DMP spokesperson said the police were not the authorised force to act on this issue. But efforts were under way to deal with the problem as it was often difficult to deport illegal foreigners without any proper document.

Based on its importance, a process has begun to transfer the case from regular police to the DB, said Monirul, who is an additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

The investigation was suffering some delays as the banks or the clients who fell victim to card cloning were not lodging any formal complaints, the DMP official said.

Although ATM booths of City Bank and Eastern Bank were reportedly targeted by the criminals, so far only United Commercial Bank has filed a case with Banani police station.

Describing a skimming device, Tanvir Hassan Zoha, the focal person of the ICT Ministry’s Cyber Security Programme, said it is a rubbery small card reader that is set up where a card is inserted.

The device extracts all user information soon after a card passes through it. Later, it is paired with another machine – which has a maximum price of Tk2.50 lakh – to produce a clone card, the IT expert said.

Such crimes can be prevented if banks set up anti-skimming devices in ATM booths and install  sensors in the machine, he added. Such prevention efforts would cost only Tk16,000 to Tk20,000.

Zoha said that once in place, ATM machines would stop accepting cards whenever someone attempted to set up a skimming device on it. 

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