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December 5, 2017
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Fraudsters in China rob millions from Karachi’s ATMs

Karachi

December 5, 2017

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Hundreds of citizens in Karachi have lost millions of rupees over a couple of weeks after falling prey to an automated teller machine (ATM) skimming fraud, Geo News reported on Monday. The schemers withdrew money in China, while the transactions were made in Pakistan through the fraudulent scheme.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said the 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 investigating the matter under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act. The matter has also been raised on a diplomatic level with China. FIA officials said they had written to Chinese diplomats to apprise them of the details of the fraud.

Clifton worst hit

The highest number of incidents of ATM skimming took place at a major shopping mall in the city’s upscale Clifton neighbourhood, where the fraudsters placed a skimming device on one ATM and made other machines dysfunctional, leading all potential victims to the ATM with the skimming device.

ATM skimming

ATM skimming 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 the fraudsters. A few ATM skimmers also change the entire display of the ATM.

Protect yourself

To avoid the loss of your hard-earned cash, it is necessary for you to check that 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 without it. One must punch in his PIN code in a way that avoids detection by a hidden camera placed somewhere on or around the machine. Do not withdraw money if you sense anything unusual at an ATM and immediately inform the bank officials concerned.

Not the first time

This is not the first time that ATM skimmers from China have robbed ATMs in Karachi. Three Chinese skimmers have already been arrested in Karachi for manipulating ATMs. On March 20 this year two Chinese nationals were apprehended while removing a skimming device from an ATM in Clifton. They had skimmed money from a cash machine near the Teen Talwar locality. Another Chinese man was held in June last year in connection with ATM skimming.

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