ATM Frauds Rising in Kendrapada

Kendrapada, Dec 30: Frequent cases of fraudulent withdrawal of cash from ATM booths in Kendrapada district have made account-holders nervous and bank authorities concerned.

The police here said that ATM frauds were being reported practically every other day, putting law enforcement agencies in a spot of bother.

The main targets of the fraudsters are the ATMs of nationalised banks where there is no 24-hour security arrangement like the ATMs of private banks.

An official in the Kendrapada police station Pramod Kumar Lenka said that as many as 32 frauds had been reported in the past few months - all involving nationalised banks.

"The police have issued direction to all nationalised banks to deploy round-the-clock security guards at ATM counters. CCTV visual footages from the ATMs where fraudulent withdrawals have taken place are being examined," Lenka said.

According to Lenka, it is the handiwork of an organised racket and the visual footage showed that the perpetrators were wearing helmets to escape detection.

In majority of the cases, it is found that ATM key boards are turned non-functional.

As a result the card user fails to type in the PIN and leaves the kiosk dejected. Enter the tricksters who then activate the keyboard and after retrieving the PIN withdraw cash, the police officer said.

Lenka said that involvement of bank officials could not be ruled out in the thefts. "All probable angles to the ATM frauds are being thoroughly probed," he said.

Bank officials on their part insist that ATMs are highly secure and that it is the ignorance of the customers which is responsible for the growing number of such cases.

Chief Manager of SBI's Kendrapada main branch Pradip Kumar Mishra said the bank management was concerned over the ATM thefts.

"We have informed the higher authorities for providing us round-the-clock security guard arrangements at the ATM booths," he said.