Grace Maria Coletti
01 December 2021
They intercepted and stole new ATMs shipped to customers and then spent the money. But before that, they phoned the cardholders pretending to be employees of the bank to get the pin codes. This is how a 75-year-old Roman woman living in the Appio Nuovo district in Roma she had a good 12 thousand euro withdrawn without her knowledge (in the archive photo the person is unrelated to the facts). The woman, however, did not lose heart. She presented herself in the proximity police station and denounced everything, revealing a gang that scored at least 40 hits in this way, both in Rome and in various areas of Italy. Three people arrested for alleged crime ranging from aggravated fraud in competition, to computer fraud and then receiving stolen goods, substitution of person, possession and manufacture of false identification documents, improper use and falsification of credit and payment cards stolen from the circuit postal.
The appeal to report
The victims could then be many more than forty so far ascertained. “Those who have suffered tell us everything without fear” is the invitation of the agents, who know well how difficult it can sometimes be to report when one has been the victim of a scam and the shame for having fallen for it is sometimes stronger than the legitimate desire to identify evildoers and to have justice. The story began in July 2020, when the elderly Roman woman turned to the Appio Nuovo Commissariat of Rome to report a series of unauthorized withdrawals on her account, with which about 12 thousand euros had been stolen, vacendo to uncover the jar by Pandora.
The phone call
All this had happened following a phone call received from the victim: a woman, who presented herself as an employee of the bank of which the victim was a customer, fearing some problems with the sending of the new ATM, had managed to convince the old woman to provide her with the pin code of her new card, which she had received a few days earlier. Already from the first investigations it emerged that the fact reported to the Appio police station was not an isolated case. The investigators, working on more than 40 similar episodes, which took place throughout the national territory, understood that the alleged criminal group, in a manner that is still the subject of investigation, came into possession of the letters containing the new ATM cards / cards. of credit intended for customers of the well-known bank. Most of these letters were stolen from the postal compartments of Padua, but there are similar shortages also from Bologna and Peschiera Borromeo.
Contacts with the victims
With the cards in hand, the criminals started calling customers knowing full well that, in other ways, they had already got hold of the pin, trying to extort the combination of 5 numbers. Those who did not want to provide the pin by voice were invited to type it on their mobile phone, this is because a DTMF (dual tone multi-frequency) was installed on the phone of the scammer, that is an encoding system, used in telephony to decrypt numeric codes in the form of sound signals in the audio band. After having acquired the pins, in order to exploit as much as possible the availability of particularly large current accounts and avoid stopping at the simple withdrawal allowed by the ceiling, they moved sums of money to “poorer” current accounts, always belonging to the same institution, by means of transfers. credit card, whose ATM card had been stolen, together with the victims’ ATM cards. These current accounts, whose iban was shown on the card itself together with the name of the account holder, were used as transit accounts. Subsequently, from these, once the banking movement had been ascertained, they proceeded to withdraw other sums.