Devbrat Patnaik

Balasore: With the help of district cyber cell, the Balasore Industrial Area Police Sunday night managed to arrest five cyber-criminals and ATM fraudsters, all natives of Uttar Pradesh, who had come to Odisha to loot cash through illegal transactions at the automated teller machine (ATM) kiosks.

Reports suggest that these cyber-criminals used an advanced ATM cash trapping method, called the transaction reversal fraud (TRF) or reversal cash trapping, to steal cash from as many as 4 ATMs in Balasore district.

Shockingly, police have seized some 158 ATM cards from their possession, apart from a four-wheeler, 8 mobile phones and Rs 64,000 cash.

Revealing the modus operandi of the criminals, based on a preliminary investigation, police sources said these fraudsters borrow an ATM card from a known person citing deposit of cash and subsequent transaction. Following this, the criminals target an ATM and initiate withdrawal of the deposited cash. Exactly when the cash is to be dispensed, they stop the dispenser shutter from raising so as to trick the host into thinking that cash was not withdrawn.

Though the ATM gives an alert, it finally shows as transaction declined. It is at this moment that the criminals loosen their grip on the shutter and as soon as the shutter raises, the trapped cash is withdrawn by them. However, the ATMs perceive that cash was not dispensed which is why the amount is not debited from the bank accounts. What this does is it attacks the concerned bank's funds directly.

Later, these criminals file a complaint with the bank authorities stating that the required amount has been debited from their account even though no cash was dispensed. As the bank's server also shows that transaction was declined, the customers receive the claimed debited amount back in their account. Sources said a huge amount of cash has been withdrawn from ATMs using this fraudulent method, which has now doubled the concern of the innocent customers. The banks too incur heavy losses due to such illegal activities by criminals.