RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government is considering establishing a special police unit for dealing with cybercrime after an increase in incidents of money being stolen via ATM machines across the province. The Punjab government has asked the inspector general of police to submit a report on establishing a speciallsed police unit and training them in dealing with cybercrime so thefts via ATM machines can be checked. Incidents of theft of money through skimmer devices which are installed in
ATM machines and which reads data on the magnetic strips on cards have increased since 2016 in various areas including Karachi, Rawalpindi, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and other areas. In Dec 20017, more than Rs10 million was stolen from 559 accounts in various banks through the use of skimmer devices. The matter was discussed in a high-level meeting of the home department headed by the additional chief secretary of the home department and the inspector general of police, Punjab.
All divisional police chiefs including RPO Rawalpindi and divisional commissioners from across the province also attended the meeting. They expressed concern over the increasing incidents of ATM theft and the meeting observed that this was creating panic and unrest among the public. The rise in cybercrime may pose a challenge for law enforcement agencies in the near future as it has the potential to cause significant financial damage and pose security risks as well, the meeting observed.
It was decided that banks will be asked to review their e-security systems so that ATM card holders are instantly cautioned in the case of skimming fraud and asked to block their cards immediately. The Punjab IGP was asked to prepare a report on establishing a dedicated police unit trained in dealing with cybercrime. The provincial government also directed the district police officers, city police officers and deputy commissioners to hold meetings with the regional heads of all banks in their respective areas and sensitise them about the increasing incidents of ATM thefts and urge them to take preventative measures.