ATM skimmers gang active in Lahore

Two scammers arrested, gang stealing citizens ATM card details at bill payment outlets

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Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has initiated a crackdown on skimmers who withdraw cash from ATMs by using their expertise in information technology, sources told MinuteMirror.

It has arrested two men for fraud and recovered blank cards, a magnetic strip reader and other devices from their possession. FIA Cyber Crime wing had received numerous complaints of millions of rupees being withdrawn through ATMs from citizens’ accounts after which it launched an investigation into the matter. According to the FIA investigation, a gang has been active in Lahore, which was present everywhere where bills were paid through ATM cards. It has skimming machines. As soon as a customer gave them the card to pay the bill, they swiped it in the skimmer machine before inserting the card into the POS machine.

This machine would read and store the data of the card. At the same time, the person could see the customer entering the pin code. The obtained data was put into a software, which puts it on a simple card and thus a fake ATM was created. Already knowing the PIN, the scammers could then use the card anywhere to do a transaction. Initial investigation has revealed that the gang members were working on different petrol pumps and restaurants from where they obtained customers’ data.

Talking to MinuteMirror, FIA Cyber Crime official Yasir Ramzan said that people were careless when paying bills with ATM cards and trusted the vendors, who took advantage of them. He added that while inserting the PIN of the card, make sure that no one was watching you and that the card was installed only in the POS machine. The FIA official said the suspects have stolen tens of millions of rupees from citizens. After stealing the money, the suspects escaped overseas.

Earlier this month, it emerged that hundreds of citizens in Pakistan lost millions of rupees over a couple of weeks after they fell prey to an ATM skimming fraud. The investigation was launched when more than 500 bank account holders from across Lahore complained to the authority regarding the scandal.

Duaa Mirza is a correspondent covering crime, social issues and law enforcement. She is the youngest crime reporter and the only woman who visits crime scenes on her motorbike. She tweets @DuaaMirza12.