Major credit card skimming racket busted in Bengaluru

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In one of the biggest crackdown on skimming and duplicate credit card racket, the Bengaluru police arrested three people including a Sri Lankan national. The gang is accused of creating duplicate credit cards and cheating store owners and bank account holders.

The arrested gang

Nawaz Sharif, Nadeem Sharif and Divyan were arrested following a CCB operation at their Jalahalli residence in Bengaluru. The police got on the gang's trail after a electronics store owner complained of credit card fraud by customers who had purchased electronics worth Rs 1.10 lakh in June. The cyber crime police registered a complaint and tracked down the culprits to an apartment that they had rented in a different person's name.

The mastermind from Sri Lanka

Divyan, a Srilankan national is said to have arrived in India illegally ten years ago. He had committed similar frauds in Chennai after which cases were filed against him by the Chennai CCB police. Divyan had been absconding but was finally arrested by the Bengaluru police. Initial investigation revealed that Divyan has committed similar frauds in other parts of the country as well.

The police found 144 duplicate cards displaying details of various banks, 16 fake driving licenses, 36 card swiping machines, one card reader, one lamination and card printing machine in possession of the accused. At least 270 empty magnetic cards were also found. The gang used the duplicate cards to shop at supermarkets, electronics stores and malls. Each time they swiped the card, the store never received any money but the amount went straight to accounts of other gang members in a different part of the country.

How the gang created duplicate cards

The gang purchased magnetic swipe cards and machines from online shopping websites. The gang accessed customer data from banks through fraudulent means and used the data to create duplicate cards. The ready-made cards were programmed with data that had been acquired. Using laptops and printers, the gang successfully printed bank logo, design etc to make the cards look authentic. The gang then used emboss machine to emboss numbers, customer name and other details like expiry date etc on the cards.

The gang also acquired card swiping machines registered under the names of vendors who were in collusion with them. Vendors and shopkeepers who were part of the skimming racket handed over swiping machine from their stores in Puducherry, Haryana, Mumbai and other cities. The duplicate cards were then used on trial basis on those swiping machines. The cards that the gang used were programmed to only credit money to the account of the vendor from whom they had received the swiping machines.

With the help of agents, the gang received 20 percent of whatever amount was swiped using the cards. The vendors, who are in collusion received the rest of the money while middleman took a share. Not just customers whose details had been compromised, but also owners of the store where the gang bought items from fell victim to the scam. Investigations are underway and more arrests are likely in the case.

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