Conmen dupe banks of lakhs with unique ATM trick

Conmen dupe banks of lakhs with unique ATM trick


For years, police were confounded by a spate of mysterious ATM thefts in which the thieves made off with lakhs without breaking into the machines.

That mystery was solved on Sunday night when the police arrested two men behaving suspiciously within an ATM booth. Entering the kiosk, the police discovered that the pair were using an ingenious method of withdrawing money from the ATM without debiting their account in the process.

Upon interrogation, the duo, identified as Shahzad, a 23-year-old taxi driver from New Delhi, and 28-year-old Shahid of Haryana, disclosed that they had developed a novel way of defrauding the ATM system.

The police said the duo would operate the ATM normally, using a legitimate bank account, until the time to take out the cash from the machine. 

“At that moment, one of them would hold the cash to prevent it from going back into the machine, while his confederate unplugged the ATM from the power supply,” explained Yeshwantpura police inspector Mohammed Mukarram.

“One of them would then call his bank’s customer care and complain that the ATM had failed to issue the money as the power had gone off. In some cases, the pair would disable security cameras before carrying out their plans,” Mukarram added.

Through this system, the two men allegedly embezzled lakhs from banks across the country. However, their crime spree was brought to an end over the weekend after a sharp-eyed bank manager noticed that the camera feed from an ATM was tilted away from its focal point. A team of plainclothes Yeshwantpura policemen caught the duo red-handed.

Shahid told police that he started out committing a series of ATM frauds in Delhi, only to migrate to other metro cities after the police stepped up security at kiosks.

In August, they relocated to Bengaluru, where they promptly began a programme to identify ATM kiosks that lacked security guards and cameras.

The men told police that they had collected 25 bank accounts, by asking friends and relatives to open accounts in nationalised banks.

“They led a lavish life with the proceeds of the crimes,” the officer said, adding that search is on for two more individuals involved in the crimes.