KOLKATA: More than 600 customers who tried to withdraw money any time between April and July at any of the three affected ATMs — Canara Bank’s at Golpark, Bank’s on Park Street and Kotak Mahindra Bank’s on Elgin Road — still run the risk of being conned.

Kolkata Police has sought information from the National Payments Corporation of India, an agency tasked with maintaining data on such transactions, to try and ascertain the number of those affected. The cops fear the figure might be much higher than reported.

Initial probe so far has shown that at Canara Bank alone, debit card data of around 275 customers have been compromised. Of them, around 42 reported losses. Even conservatively, this number across three banks would be over 600. “The Canara Bank ATM was most likely skimmed on April

4. The first withdrawals by the gang were on July 22. Given that this was an ATM attached with a branch, the 275 number might go up,” said an officer. ‘HOTLIST CARDS’

Number of duped people may go up

The officer said they suspected the number of duped people could go up for the other two compromised ATMs.

Canara Bank has advised several customers to hotlist their debit cards. “While blocking might not always be necessary, a PIN change is advisable for all such customers,” said a bank security expert.

“The two Romanian nationals — Dumitru Calin and Operea Ovidiu Simion — have claimed they were merely smaller players who got a 15% to 20% cut for each successful transaction. It is clear that a third person — most likely their handler — had accompanied them. We even have footage supporting that. A passport of a third gang member has been recovered from a rented apartment in Delhi’s . Add to it the fact that the

two hotels at Kasba where the two accused put up has told us that around 10-12 Romanians had camped with them in these four months. This only increases the probability of the gang operating on a much wider scale,” said police.

It is also likely that the data was processed by their gang leaders themselves, the foot soldiers merely carrying out groundwork. It’s clear that with these arrests, the gang may be lying low for the moment but can attempt to operate from another city, as was noticed by Jaipur police, who had to make multiple trips to Goa and Mumbai before pinning down the accused to Delhi. The fact that the last time in Delhi they even tried to auction this data to an Indian gang has also got to be factored. “As such, it is important that we adopt all measures to ensure no further loss to Kolkatans,” said an officer.

Cops said they have conducted several rounds of meetings with banks trying to figure out safety-enhancing measures.
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