7 arrested over ATM rip-offs
Posted Friday, January 4 2013 at 02:00
Police have arrested seven people, including a Uganda Peoples Defence Force Corporal, on allegations of stealing money from bank clients in Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) on the pretext of helping them make transactions.
The suspects’ scheme was burst after their member was arrested for stealing an ATM card at Stanbic Bank ATM in Wandegeya. The first suspect led them to other members and 67 ATM cards were recovered.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi said they arrested the suspected ringleader, who is also a UPDF corporal, but police are yet to apprehend other 10 people who are believed to be part of the group stealing money from bank ATMs.
“We are to charge the one we have on charges of forgery, conspiracy to commit a felony,” Mr Ssenkumbi said yesterday.
The arrest of the suspect by the police intelligence unit comes nearly a month after four Bulgarians were convicted and sentenced to two decades each in jail on similar offences.
Mr Ssenkumbi said the police have been receiving several complaints about a new wave of criminals stealing ATM cards from unsuspected clients and later withdraw their money.
The suspects deploy their members near ATMs targeting people who do not know how to operate the ATM machines.
According to ATM footage obtained by the Daily Monitor, the moment the suspect sees a client who seems not to be knowledgeable about the ATM operations, he also enters the room to help him or her.
The suspect makes sure that he has two ATM cards of the same bank in one of his hand for easy swapping later on.
He then helps the victim by inserting the card in the machine and then tells him or her to insert the password as he monitors.
After the transaction, often the card comes out first with the suspect quickly getting hold of and then allowing the victim to pick the money and the receipt.