PETALING JAYA: Within 24 hours, a group of foreigners hit three bank branches in Selangor and Johor, using what appears to be telephone sim cards to hack into ATMs and withdraw over RM800,000.
The string of fraudulent withdrawals began at a bank in Taman Bukit Pasir in Batu Pahat, Johor, where three men reportedly took turns to insert what appeared to be a sim card into an ATM and withdraw about RM255,150 at about 11pm Friday.
It is learnt that the three men would enter the bank one at a time, insert the card and then withdraw the maximum amount of RM5,000 before leaving.
They repeated this process several times and even changed outfits to avoid attracting suspicion from the guards.
A second incident occurred hours later in Jalan Yong Shook Lin in Petaling Jaya, where two Middle-Eastern looking men had used the same modus operandi to hack into the ATM and withdraw RM303,000.
OCPD ACP Azmi Abu Kassim said the robbery was discovered when the manager was alerted by the bank’s central operations centre on the unusual balance in the ATMs at his bank. He found that in one ATM that had recently been refilled with RM340,000, RM33,500 was withdrawn by customers while another RM303,000 was unaccounted for.
“The CCTV footage revealed that the two Middle Eastern-looking men were seen withdrawing the money on Saturday. They appeared to be putting something into the ATM card slot,” he said.
That same day, Subang Jaya OCPD ACP Yahaya Ramli said two men stole RM265,000 from a bank in Jalan USJ 10/1J in the same manner.
“They took turns entering the bank between 8.35am and 10.44am and made 137 withdrawals. A maintenance officer said a sim card was put into the ATM slot.
“From the CCTV footage, it appears the suspects were wearing earphones while making the transactions, suggesting that it was a high-tech heist,” he said.
ACP Yahaya said the men appeared to be of Latin American descent, between the ages of 20 and 35, and 175cm to 180cm in height. One of the men had black hair while the other had brown hair.
Police are now launching an investigation into how the suspects carried out the heist and what technology they were using.