India-based gang held over £150,000 cash machine trick

A man uses a cash point in India The scam was spotted by the Federal Bank of India

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India-based fraudsters who had found a novel way to steal money by tricking cash machines have been arrested, according to local reports.

The gang would request to withdraw large amounts of cash, but only take a portion of the notes, making the machine think none were taken.

The gang would then make a claim for the money to be put back into their account by their bank.

An expert told the BBC that such attempts in the UK would be futile.

"Theoretically it's possible," said Graham Mott, a spokesman for Link, the UK's cash machine network.

"But it will be spotted and will be investigated."

Investigators said the Indian gang would use a cash machine to make withdrawals of 10,000 rupees (£115), but would only take 9,900 rupees from the pile of dispensed money.

The remaining 100 rupees - the last note - would then be taken back in by the machine.

Start Quote

The bank will investigate it as they would any first party fraud”

End Quote Graham Mott Link network

The gang would then claim back the 10,000 rupees, using the failed transaction notice as evidence of not receiving the cash.

Considerable losses

They are said to have stolen about 10 million rupees using this method - just under £150,000 - from banks in the south-west Indian state of Kerala.

The gang, which local police believe was just one of several profiting from the scam, would travel to various towns to avoid being detected.

However, the Federal Bank of India eventually detected considerable losses and asked police to investigate.

Five men were arrested as a result - although local media said there were still two major gangs operating.

Mr Mott said similar scams had been attempted in the UK, often spurred on by groups of friends believing they were sharing a "secret" technique.

"You tend to get people trying to give it a go. As with other forms of fraud, it tends to be a bit cyclical," he told BBC News.

"The bank will investigate it as they would any first-party fraud.

"It's a criminal offence - we identify repeat cards doing this kind of claim."

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