‘Concerted efforts needed to fight ATM fraud’

Anisul Islam Noor

21 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Fraudsters are now more advanced in technical knowledge so they succeed in stealing money from ATM booths through removing all technological barriers, experts said.

They, however, have stressed the need for a combined force to fight the ATM fraud in the country.

Law enforcers are yet to discover any mysteries of ATM booth fraud though such many incidents have taken place in the country since 2016.

The ATM issue came to the fore after three ATM frauds took place in Chattogram and Cumilla on Sunday.

Insiders in the financial sector said a combined force of innovative banks official and law enforcers is needed to ensure security for financial institutions.

They will work unitedly round the clock to ensure cyber security and other finance-related security, they added. Fraudsters swindled off Tk 0.9 million from three ATM booths of Pubali Bank in Chattogram and Cumilla.

The bank filed general diaries with local police stations in connection with the theft of money.

The stolen money was not cut from any customer’s account as the fraudsters disconnected the machines from the main server first.

Police published photos of two suspects captured in security cameras of the ATM booths, urging all to identify them.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s news portal published a video obtained from the CCTV camera at the Pubali Bank ATM booth in Cumilla.

Two people are seen in the video drawing money from the ATM after opening a part of the machine and planting some device in it around 8:45pm.

The DMP asked anyone with information on the people in the video to call the assistant deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch at Khilgaon at 01713398596.

Fraudsters stole Tk 650,000 from two ATMs in Chawkbazar and Double Mooring and the rest from another in Cumilla, Pubali Bank Managing Director Abdul Halim Chowdhury told journalists on Wednesday.

The Pubali Bank has already supplied the clear images of the thieves to the police and published their images in daily newspapers on Wednesday.

He hoped that the criminals would be caught and the money would be recovered soon.

Officials at Pubali Bank said the money was stolen from the ATM booths on Chattogram College Road and Agrabad Sheikh Mujib Road between 6pm and 9:30pm on Sunday.

Minhaz Uddin Sarwar, the manager of the bank’s College Road branch filed a GD at Chawkbazar Police Station on Tuesday, Inspector Reaz Uddin Chowdhury said.

The fraudsters stole Tk 334,000 from the College Road booth of the bank between 6pm and 7pm on Nov 17, according to the GD.

Agrabad Sheikh Mujib Road branch manager Shahed Ali in another GD with Double Mooring Police Station on Monday said Tk 310,000 was stolen from the booth between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on Nov 17, Inspector Zahir Hossain said.

A 2018 study by Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) says 62 percent of the country’s scheduled banks are vulnerable to cyber attack while 28 percent of the banks have no arrangement for dealing with such attacks.

Most of the fraud activities take place via electronic delivery channels, such as mobile banking, ATM and plastic card transactions.

After analysing 50 fraudulent cases in the banking sector, the study found 43 percent took place by means of Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

Bangladesh Bank data shows that about 14.66m debit cards and 1.13m credit cards are in circulation in Bangladesh.

Managing Director of Bank Asia Limited Md Arfan Ali told the daily sun, “Cyber security is a big challenge for our country because using IT in the financial sector has become very widespread. All types of transactions are done using digital systems, thus it is getting much riskier.”

The banking sector have to take measures to mitigate these risks, which is why investment in the IT sector has to be increased, both in terms of physical infrastructure and software upgrades. Bankers should be more aware and receive IT training, he said.

Bangladesh Bank spokesperson and Executive Director Serajul Islam told the daily sun that they are yet to get any information on the latest ATM fraud.

“How the latest incident took place without any record of transaction in the bank server is not clear as I am not notified of it yet,” he said.

A deputy commissioner of Detective Branch (East) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said that they failed to extract information from the detainees as the main accused is till absconding.