ISLAMABAD: A man allegedly involved in automated teller machines (ATMs) skimming and other cybercrimes – with international links – has been arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from Rawalpindi. ATM skimming is like identity theft for debit cards: Thieves use hidden electronics to steal the personal information stored on your card and record your PIN number to access all that hard-earned cash in your account. The accused, Saqibullah, was arrested from Dhoke Nosa, Defence Colony in Rawalpind. He is currently under the physical remand of the FIA where efforts are being made by investigators to arrest his other gang members. The arrested suspected was involved in manufacturing and use of counterfeit ATM, credit and debit cards of several national and international banks whereas he was also doing sale and purchase of national and international credit card database to mint money. At the time of his arrest, 20 blank PVC cards, two credit cards, a magnetic strip reader, a skimmer, laptop and a cell phone were seized by the raiding team. The initial forensic audit of his gadgets further revealed that he was also involved in blackmailing females as a large number of the videos of sexual intercourse were recovered from his phone and laptop. In a press conference on Friday, FIA Islamabad Zone Director Shakeel Ahmed Durrani briefed the media on his arrest and said that he was in contact with international hackers. “Besides Indian hackers, he was also in contact with Canadian, Nigerian, US and Italian cyber-criminals and hackers while he collected bulks of credit card data from international miscreants as well.” He said that the purpose to call the press conference was not just to share the achievement but to educate the masses regarding dos and don’ts of technology-based banking. “ATM users should be careful while using ATM machines and report any suspicious activity if found to their banks”, he advised while suggesting: “The account holders can also set cash withdrawal limits through ATMs to avoid such losses.” However, he did not share the volume of money earned by the arrested accused and his group by using stolen information of credit cards. Deputy Director Cyber Crime Circle Rana Imran Saeed told media persons that how fraudsters employ different techniques to record PIN code for accessing money in bank accounts. “In some instances, the skimmers stick a fake card-reader on ATMs, while in others they use a hidden camera, which records PIN code and conveys it to fraudsters,” he explained while showing the equipment recovered from the arrested criminal. Earlier, it had emerged that hundreds of citizens across the country lost millions of rupees over a couple of weeks after they fell prey to an ATM skimming fraud. The FIA had said skimmers withdrew money using data from 579 ATM cards. They accessed the accounts by placing skimming devices on different ATMs. Published in Daily Times, December 9th 2017.