Indian hacker linked to prime suspect in ATM skimming scam: FIA

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing investigation of the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) skimming scam took a new turn as a link was found between the prime suspect and an Indian national, according to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

In a press conference in Islamabad, FIA Director Shakeel Durrani revealed the details of the ongoing investigation.
An Indian, Saurav and a woman named Ayesha from Italy were found involved in the fraud, said the FIA director, adding that there could be a gang behind the skimming scam.
The FIA director said that the prime suspect Saqibullah used to send pictures of ATM machines to an Indian hacker, while Ayesha used to send hacking devices from abroad.
“The prime suspect used to take pictures of ATM machines so that suitable skimming machines could be ordered from other countries,” said the director.
The director further revealed that the money was not only cashed in China, but other countries including the US, Canada, Italy, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Durrani said the suspect, Ayesha, also used to handle Saqib’s international credit account. Investigation officials further said that the exchange of money took place through wire transfer service Western Union.
To ensure safe transactions, the suspect used the CNICs of his family members, he said.
The suspect Saqib was also involved in harassment of women, said Durrani. The FIA director added that the foreign suspects could be charged through Interpol and extradited to Pakistan.
On Thursday, the FIA recovered hundreds of cards and other material from the prime suspect.
Recently, hundreds of citizens in Pakistan lost millions of rupees over a couple of weeks after they fell prey to an ATM skimming fraud.
The officials discovered equipment used in stealing consumers’ data and are running forensic tests on the equipment recovered.
The investigation was launched when more than 500 consumers of banks across Pakistan complained to the authority regarding the scandal. The FIA is probing the matter under the Cyber Crimes Act.
Earlier, the FIA said skimmers withdrew money using data from 579 ATM cards. They accessed the accounts by placing skimming devices on different ATMs.
The highest number of incidents of ATM skimming took place at a major shopping mall in Karachi’s Clifton area.

What is ATM skimming?

ATM skimming can be regarded as identity theft for debit cards. Fraudsters employ different techniques to record your PIN code for accessing the hard-earned money in your account.
In some instances, the schemers stick a fake card-reader on the ATM, while in others they place a fake keypad on the machine to get your PIN code.
Another technique employed in this crime is the use of a hidden camera, which records your PIN code and conveys it to fraudsters.
A few ATM skimmers also change the entire display of the ATM.