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Spoofing — a new word for ATM fraud

September 09, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Sept 8: Although advanced technologies have solved most of the issues of human society but crime has also progressed along with technology, due to which theft of money through auto teller machines (ATMs) is on the increase.

On the other hand, banks and investigation departments rather than taking quick action against the culprits, use delaying tactics which is a normal practice in most of the third world/developing countries, Dawn has learnt.

In the past it was impossible to draw money from bank accounts after banking hours due to which in case of emergency people had to borrow money from people.

ATMs solved the issue and now people can get money round the clock. People have stopped keeping money in the wallet and they use ATM/Debit cards for shopping and to draw money.

According to sources, people have been using ATMs frequently due to which now criminals have started using these machines for theft and use different devices and chips to break or get the codes of different accounts and draw money from bank accounts through ATMs. A recent incident has taken place in Muslim Commercial Bank, City Bank Square, Main Branch Rawalpindi.

A citizen, Muhammad Rizwan, while talking to Dawn said that he has an account number 19223-6. Someone drew Rs30,000 from his account.

Apart from him there are a number of people whose accounts have been accessed, and a total amount of Rs7.5 million has been withdrawn, he alleged.

“Someone had installed a chip on the ATM machine and whoever came there to withdraw the amount, his code got detected, and later the robbers withdrew amount from their accounts using the ATM information,” he said.

“From my account, someone withdrew Rs 25,000 on August 23, 2012 and Rs5,000 on August 24.

I came to know about it after a few days and then I contacted MCB authorities but after a long investigation, banking staff advised me to file a complaint form, which has been sent to head office and now no one is ready to tell me about the further development,” he said.

“There was a file with Mr Hafeez, a bank official, in which there were number of complaints regarding the issue. I requested him to give me numbers of some other complainants but he refused,” he said.

An electronics engineer, Touqeeruddin told Dawn that in technical terms, that kind of fraud is called “Spoofing”. It was used in developed countries for years but now it has started in Pakistan.

“Three are different techniques being used for  fraud. Some people use a gadget which can be fixed in the slot of ATM and when a person tries to get the money, gadget copies the data of the card,” he said.

“At shops, when people do shopping, a shopkeeper can copy the card and sometimes he even says the person to enter his pin.

That card and pin can be copied and it is easy to make a new card by using that copied data. Staff of the bank can be involved in frauds,” he said.

“Most of the banks have been linked with branches through DSL, so a professional hacker can easily get access to their network.

Banks should use satellite connections to secure their network,” he said, adding that citizens should be very careful and should not swap card at places which are not trustable.

An official of bank requesting not to be named said a number of applications have been received by the bank. All complainants have been alleging that their money was stolen from their accounts. He said if the management came to know that he has given any information, he will be fired.

Branch manager of a bank M. Tasleem Awan while talking to Dawn said that in case of any complaint, he sends them to the head office.

“I don’t have access to CCTV footage, so everything will be checked at head office. Anything is possible in the advanced world but the head office will definitely find the culprits and will address the issue,” he said.

Deputy Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Idrees Khan told Dawn that the National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) deals with that kind of issues and for the investigation,  CCTV footage and data, which has been accessed, is used for investigation. At the end of the day culprits can be evil geniuses but they get caught in the end, he added.