As many as 350 auto-teller machine (ATM) cards were seized on Sunday when Karachi police arrested four Chinese nationals suspected of ATM skimming fraud.
Police say the men were suspected of installing skimmers on ATM machines. These are devices can read data of magnetic strips and are installed over ATM card slots.
Police said the group appeared to be a part of an organised gang which employed young Chinese men for skimming frauds. The incident takes the toll of Chinese men arrested this week in relation to ATM skimming frauds in Karachi to six. Earlier in the week, two Chinese men were arrested for allegedly planting a skimming device at a Habib Bank Ltd ATM in Zainab Market while another was arrested in Bahadurabad.
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ATM skimming in Pakistan appears to be on a rise with the first case surfacing in 2016. Banking data was captured off debit and credit cards with the use of skimming devices. Various incidents of skimming has been reported in Rawalpindi and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, with one bank confirming in December 2017 that over Rs10 million had been stolen from 559 of its accounts.
What is ATM skimming?
Hacking through skimming devices is a global phenomenon and not limited to Pakistan alone. It involves strategically installing cameras or other imaging devices to ATMs to capture PIN numbers. Once captured, the electronic data is put onto a fraudulent card and the captured PIN is used to withdraw money from accounts.
The device is designed to look like a standard part of the terminal. A skimmer plate can be placed over the top of the existing keyboard as a method of PIN capturing. Skimming devices are normally attached to ATMs during quiet periods, for example early in the morning or late evening. Successful skimming requires both a card skimmer (card reader) and camera (PIN capturing device) to be fitted to the ATM in order to steal card data. Criminals may loiter nearby to observe customers and remove equipment after machine use. Downloaded information can be transmitted wirelessly to other devices.