Mumbai Crime: Midnight ATM fraud hits Union Bank of India's Juhu customers

Updated: Dec 10, 2019, 07:22 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

A sizeable crowd had gathered at the branch office, waiting for the shutters to open and their grievances to be addressed

The withdrawals happened between midnight and 6.30am. 
Pic/ Shailesh Bhatia
The withdrawals happened between midnight and 6.30am. Pic/ Shailesh Bhatia

Over 70 alleged fraudulent ATM withdrawals were reported by account holders from the Juhu Tara Road branch of the Union Bank of India in the wee hours of Monday.

A majority of the victims got ATM withdrawal alerts between midnight and 6.15am. A sizeable crowd had gathered at the branch office, waiting for the shutters to open and their grievances to be addressed.

When mid-day visited the bank at 2.00 pm, a group of nearly 15 victims, who had lost between Rs 3,000 and Rs 50,000, were seen with complaint letters in their hands, signed and stamped by the local police station.

"The first SMS came at around 6.30am, informing that R10,000 had been withdrawn and within minutes two more messages flashed that another Rs 15,000 has been debited. I immediately called the bank helpline number and got my card blocked," said Regan Fernandes.

Similar experiences were shared by Metthew Fernandes and Caitan Trwidade, who lost Rs 50,000 each.

An untimely call from her husband, who is in London, woke up Komal Kathalia, herself a banker. He too received an SMS that said a sum of Rs 25,000 had been withdrawn from their account. The alert at such an odd hour meant that there was either an emergency or a fraud.

Among the victims was an elderly lady, Parmadvi Prajapat, whose son Santosh runs a sugarcane juice stall, across the road from the bank, anxious to know if her savings of R3,000 will be returned.

Jenifer Fernandes, Trustee of H West Residents Federation, who was coordinating the entire process, said that over 70 unauthorised transactions were put record and the count is likely to rise.

Bank manager V Subha confirmed that the transactions had occurred and her staff was collecting the victims' data. "We are not in a position to share the exact quantum of the withdrawals," she said.

Police Inspector Santosh Kanse from Santacruz Police Station said that they too have been receiving complaints and a collective FIR would be filed under relevant sections once the bank provides comprehensive data and the CCTV footage.

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