Ukrainians arrested in Bangladesh for ATM fraud

Vijaya Laxmi Tripura

Police in Bangladesh has arrested six Ukrainian nationals from Hotel Olio Dream Heaven at Panthapath in Dhaka over their involvement in withdrawing cash from ATM booths through using illegal means. The detainees are Valentine, Oleg, Dennis, Nazari, Sergei, and Volobihain.

The fraudsters used a new kind of technology to withdraw cash from ATM.

According to bank sources, they did not use skimming devices to clone cards. They took the money out of the ATM’s vault. Bank authorities are trying to find out the technology they used. Forensic experts are working on it.

Abul Kashem Md Shirin, Managing director of Dutch Bangla Bank Limited told reporters, “It is not a card cloning incident at all. We are still trying to assess what has happened and how it happened.”

Earlier in 2016, Ukraine born Piotr Szcdepan Mazurek, who entered Bangladesh with a Polish passport, was arrested for ATM fraud. During interrogation, Piotr told police that an international gang based in different East European countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland, and Africa is also active in different Asian and African countries in fraudulence activities.

According to police and bank sources, two foreign nationals withdrew Taka 300,000 taka from a Dutch-Bangla Bank ATM booth in Badda, and left some cash lying around on Friday.

The security guard at the booth informed bank authorities, who checked the CCTV footage and saw that two men were withdrawing the money. No account of that transaction has been recorded in bank server.

The same men then went to another booth in Khilgaon on Saturday, wearing masks and caps. The security guard became suspicious and called locals for help, who were able to catch one of them.

Police raided the hotel based on information provided by him and arrested the six alleged fraudsters. One member of the fraud ring is still on the run, said the official.

He said seven people came from Ukraine together. Among them, one Vitaly escaped when he learned about the raid. The airport immigration has been

Stealing money from ATM booths by foreign nationals is nothing new in Bangladesh. Police earlier arrested Chinese and European nationals over ATM scam in the country.

A 2018 study by Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) says 62% of the country’s scheduled banks are vulnerable to cyber-attack while 28 percent of the banks have no arrangement for dealing with such attack.

Most of the fraud activities take place via electronic delivery channels, such as mobile banking, ATM and plastic card transactions.

After analyzing 50 fraudulent cases in the banking sector, the study found 43 percent of the incidents took place by means of automated teller machines.

Bangladesh Bank data shows about 14.66m debit cards and 1.13m credit cards are in circulation in Bangladesh.

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