PANJIM: North Goa Police arrested three Bulgarian nationals among five men of an international ATM skimming racket, responsible for the theft of several lakhs of rupees.
On Tuesday, Panjim and Porvorim police teams, acting on intelligence inputs about unauthorised ATM card transactions, raided a resort at Vagator and seized 382 magnetic cards, laptops and skimming devices.
Police said that local intelligence and analysis of nearby CCTV footage helped them zero in on Steven Lazarov, Husein and Radaslov, all of Bulgaria, involved in carrying out skimming of ATM cards at different places across Goa. In a separate raid following reliable information, Panjim Police arrested Abdul Qadar and Gurpreet Singh with two card swiping machines while they were moving around the State capital and Old Goa.
Information shared with Herald reveals that more members of the criminal ring operate from Europe. “Those operating from Europe have been sharing data with their accomplices in India. After grabbing card information, they would write the details on the clone cards,” Police Public Relations Officer, SP Shobhit Saxena said.
The clone magnetic strip cards were used for fraudulent purchases and withdrawals from ATMs.
The raiding teams have seized around 382 cards as skimmers are also known for procuring these through e-commerce websites. The details from where the blank gift cards were purchased are under investigation. The magnetic cards are illegal in foreign countries.
The total amount the accused have cheated their victims of is being probed, North SP Utkrisht Prasoon told Herald. Investigations will also revolve around the number of people targeted by the accused.
Another accused, also a foreign national, is on the run and a manhunt has been launched to track his whereabouts.
The department has urged ATM card users to cover the keypad while entering the PIN at any ATM centres, in order to protect themselves from any such fraud.