Five Romanian nationals, including two women, were arrested for alleged ATM fraud, police said.
Police said the suspects would install data skimmers and miniature cameras in ATMs to gather customers’ card details and steal their passwords. They would then allegedly clone the cards and withdraw money or make purchases.
Police said the suspects were arrested with 102 H&M gift cards onto which data was transferred, to be used as ATM cards.
With a large number of cards from H&M, a Swedish multinational clothing company with outlets in Delhi-NCR, police are probing whether any of the company’s employees were involved in the alleged racket. Another Romanian woman is yet to be arrested, police said.
Deputy commissioner of police (north) Nupur Prasad said the racket was busted after bank officials discovered a data skimmer and camera in a machine in north Delhi’s Sadar Bazar on January 31.
The skimmer was installed on the card reader and the camera above the keypad, the DCP said.
“We checked CCTV footage of the ATM booth and found that two masked women had installed the devices,” said Prasad. Police personnel in plainclothes were then deployed around the booth.
Around 3.30 pm, the personnel allegedly caught two masked women red-handed as they entered the ATM and attempted to remove the devices. They were identified as Costache Irina, 27, and Caragica Elisabeta,22.
“Apart from the devices, we also recovered 88 cloned cards (H&M cards). A case was registered and their questioning led to the arrest of their three accomplices, and recovery of 14 more cloned cards from the same company, two laptops and four mobile phones,” added the DCP.
An investigator associated with the case said this was not the first time that the suspects committed the crime. “They said they would frequently visit India as tourists and follow a similar modus operandi,” he said, on condition of anonymity. The passports of the two arrested women show that they had landed in Delhi on January 28 and that this was their second visit.
“The suspects told us that they identified unguarded and isolated ATM booths in crowded places. The women would install the devices and retrieve them,” he said. “Thereafter, the other suspects would use software to transfer data onto other cards.”
“Since it is an ongoing investigation we can’t comment on this matter,” said a spokesperson at H&M India, when contacted for comment.