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Credit card cloning on rise: STF

Written by: Staff
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Lucknow, Apr 3 (UNI) Credit card cloning by hi-techsyndicates is fast becoming a major headache for consumers and credit companies alike.

The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh Police -- empowered to deal with such crimes -- says credit card cloning is emerging as a major crime in the country, including UP.

The STF yesterday busted a gang of credit card 'thieves' who used cloned cards to make money.

''Without using weapons or coming into public eyes, these hi-tech thugs literally looted crores of rupees from card users and banks,'' said a senior STF official involved in the case.

These gangs, using latest cloning instruments steal a card holder's personal details, including the peronal identification member, printed on the magnetic strip of a debit or credit card, usually at an ATM, and use it to withdraw money or make costly purchases.

A couple of senior bureaucrats from the state had recently reported such frauds.

''Mostly, the CCTV camera of ATM centres are not working...these criminals avail of this opportunity to have a peek at your personal details,'' said Rohit Nandan, a bureaucrat and one of the 'victims'.

When a person visits an ATM, he pays more attention to cash. But the criminals sitting near by watch the user and when a detail is typed on the machine, they receive it too. The information is transmitted through an equipment they install in front of the ATM.

The STF has warned people to report about any unusual attachment in front of the ATM centre and not use the card when they do.

The equipment used to capture the ATM card number and PIN looks like normal ATM machine. A 'skimmer' put in front of the normal ATM card slot reads the card number and transmits it to criminals. A wireless camera that looks like a leaflet holder is kept to view ATM PIN entries. The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw money.

''It is very possible that the criminals arrested on Sunday may have transferred credit card data of several foreign nationals in this fashion,'' SSP (STF) S K Bhagat said.

The police have also warned people to keep an eye on the shop owner who swipes the card after purchases. The card is swiped across a machine that is provided to them by the banks. One must watch if card is swiped twice in two different machines one of which could be a 'skimmer' or a cloning machine.

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