Police in Mwanza have arrested three people in connection with theft of 500m/- from various banks using fake ATM cards.
Acting Mwanza Regional Police Commander Christopher Fuime said one of the suspects was arrested on February 10 at midnight, allegedly stealing money from an ATM machine at NMB’s PPF Plaza branch.
He named the suspects as Salim Nassoro a resident of Kinondoni in Dar es Salaam, Maniki Kimani and Leonard Masunga who are related and both from Nyegezi in Mwanza.
Fuime said the suspects were found with 194 NMB and Diamond Trust Bank ATM cards, 36 KCB ATM cards and other 18 ATM cards with no logo, and equipment allegedly used to manufacture fake ATM bank cards.
He said the suspects were also found with three laptops, a printer, a camera and three cans of spray paint which they use to spray to banks’ CCTV camera to conceal their identity.
Fuime added that some of the equipment seized during the arrest would be taken to the cyber and financial crime unit in Dar es Salaam for further analysis.
He said police were still investigating the incident and that the suspects would be taken to court soon.
A number of customers from different financial institutions have complained after finding money withdrawn from their accounts through the ATMs, transactions they say they did not execute.
A customer in Dodoma who was affected by the cyber crime cited a foreign link in the thefts, noting: “In the recent cyber thefts from bank customers’ accounts in Dodoma and Dar, the statement [showed it was] done by International ATM card. Also, this International ATM card was withdrawing money to the tune of 438,618/72 while our banks here in Tanzania limit each single withdrawal to the maximum 400,000/-.”
An official from one of the largest bank in the country admitted having trouble with customers whose accounts were tempered with.
He said that ATM thefts also known as card skimming is a critical problem facing a number of financial institutions in the country, especially in Dar es Salaam. It was creating a burden for the banks since they were forced to refund customers the stolen money.
The Bank of Tanzania working with the Bankers’ Association and police have mounted a campaign to track the thefts, it was reported recently.