Thane cyber crime: Rs 1.5 lakh stolen from 22 accounts in 3 hours

Twenty-two residents of Ulhasnagar lost Rs 1.5 lakh from their savings bank accounts between Sunday night and the wee hours of Monday. All victims have their accounts in Canara Bank branch in Ulhasnagar-4. The siphoning came to light after the victims approached the cyber crime cell yesterday and filed a written complaint.

Complainants outside Vithalwadi police station. Pic/Navneet Barhate
Complainants outside Vithalwadi police station. Pic/Navneet Barhate

Canara Bank branch manager Ganesh Andrews claimed that it was the first-of-its-kind incident and assured full cooperation to the police during investigation.

Victim speak
Speaking to mid-day, Aarti Vasant Khapre said she received a message on Monday night that R7,492.35 had been debited towards POS (point of sale) from her account. Similarly, R1,882 was debited from her mother Kusum Khapre’s account.

“When I visited the bank the next day to seek an explanation, I saw that several other customers were complaining to the manager about sudden deductions from their accounts. We all had one thing in common: deductions had happened between Sunday 10 pm and Monday 1 am,” said Aarti, adding that all the victims then approached the Vithalwadi police station to lodge a complaint. “An officer there told us to visit the cyber crime cell. As per his instructions, we visited the cyber cell and filed a written complaint. The officers there assured us a through investigation and recovery of the stolen amount if possible,” Aarti said.

She added that her mother’s pension is credited to the account from which the amount was debited.

Mangala Arun Vamorkar, who lost Rs 15,618.17, said, “If we haven’t shared share our personal details or the PIN number with any of the customer care executives or fake callers, then how can the amount get debited? It is a big cyber fraud and we suspect an insider’s involvement. The police and the bank authorities must investigate the matter and ensure that we are given full refunds.”

She added all the victims of the fraud have temporarily blocked their accounts and debit cards. Just like Aarti and Mangala, Vasant Devidas Mahajan and Mahesh Rade lost Rs 12,232.49 and Rs 13,930.13 from their accounts respectively.

Commenting on the issue, Andrews said, “Twenty-two persons approached us in the morning and around Rs 1.50 lakh has been debited from their accounts. It’s for the first time in my career that I’ve experienced such a fraud. The police will be helping us in the investigation. Initially, we assumed that the customers might have shared their details with unidentified callers over the phone, but that’s clearly not the case.”

Cop speak
Senior Inspector JK Sawant from the cyber crime cell said, “We have received a written complaint from the customers who lost money. Ways through which the fraudster/s managed to secure their personal details is yet to be probed.”

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