Four suspected fraudsters, who disposes bank customers of their ATM cards, have been arrested in various parts of the country.
The suspects, David Wuese, Chika Okenyi, Omotayo Bamidele and Akura Godwin specialize in stealing ATM cards and pins from bank customers who may be having difficulty in operating ATM machines.
Following complaints from members of the public who had fallen victims, detectives attached to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) headed by Abba Kyari, nabbed the suspects with over 70 stolen ATM cards.
The IGP was said to have detailed Kyari to investigate and round up the suspects.
The team, armed with the IGP’s directive, trailed the gang to their hideouts in Enugu, Benue and Nassarawa states from where they were arrested.
While being paraded before newsmen on Friday in Abuja, the 27-year-old alleged leader of the syndicate, Wuese, disclosed that the syndicate was formed in Markurdi, Benue State capital.
He revealed that they launched their activities across several states in the country, disclosing that “The idea behind our operation was a collective one and I cannot tell who actually brought it.
“Some of the ATM cards found in our possession are not active. We use them to exchange valid ones from our victims,” he confessed.
On their modus operandi, the suspects disclosed that a member of the syndicate would approach an ATM user who was having difficulties with the machine, they would then swap the unsuspecting customer’s ATM card with another one from their own pockets after they must have got the PIN of the ATM card of the unsuspecting customer.
Wuese continued, “We then take the stolen ATM card to the nearest ATM machine where they would check the balance in the victim’s account, after which we would proceed to purchase expensive mobile phones from the account.
“In other cases, we will also make withdrawals to the limits of the account.
He said: “The idea behind our operation was a collective one. I cannot tell who actually brought it. But before then, we had read something similar in the newspapers, and we modified it.
“Some of the ATM cards found in our possession were all invalid, and that was what we were using to steal from our victims.
“We don’t operate in one state.
“We move from one state to the other, and after we had succeeded in stealing a victim’s card, we would take the card to a machine where we would check the balance in the owner’s account.
“If the money in it is less than N20,000, we would leave the money and move on to look for other victims, but if the amount in the account is huge, we would withdraw up to the ATM limit, then we would go to any shop where phones are sold and by phones, which we would resell at cheaper prices.
“Sometimes, we take the ATM cards to night clubs and hotels where we paid with cards.
“In our last operation, we bought three Samsung Galaxy Edge for N245, 000 each and we sold them for N215,000. We also bought three Blackberry Passport for N130,000 each and sold them for N90,000.
“We bought two Infinix phones for N82,000 each and sold them for N60,000.
“I can’t count the number of operations we have done, but we normally share all the money we have made equally.
“I have succeeded in buying a Toyota Camry with my own share of our loot, but I don’t know what my friends have done with theirs,” he added.