Credit card users beware

This is a little old news item from Times of India Mumbai edition. This news item came on 15th December 2005.
Once again a nice utility put to wrong use. Am not talking about credit card but about the Magnetic card reading device.

4 held for siphoning off plastic cash
They Would Make Duplicates Of Credit Cards Used By Customers At A Juhu Hotel

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Mumbai: The next time you decide to use your credit card on a shopping trip, think again. The Mumbai police have busted a hitech credit card fraud which they believe is the crime of the future.

Four gadget-savvy youngsters from Andheri, two of them software engineers, got together to earn a quick buck and ended up ripping off over Rs 3 lakh of citizens’ money. The foursome were arrested by the Juhu police on Tuesday. Interestingly, one of the boys was all set to leave for the United States for a job in a wellplaced computer firm.

According to the police, the mastermind of the gang is 19-year-old Leo Paul. A second-year engineering student at a Bandra college, Paul had read about a magnetic card-reading device which could store data once you swipe a card through it. Data from at least 12 such cards could be stored at a time. Paul realised that if credit cards were swiped though the machine, the personal data of a customer stored on it could be accessed. He then teamed with Akash Kamble, a 19-year-old Lokhandwala resident, and ordered the card-reader from USA, using the internet, since it’s not available in India.

“The boys befriended a waiter at Kings International hotel at Juhu to take their plan ahead. Every time someone ate a meal in the hotel and paid by credit card, the waiter would discreetly swipe it through the magnetic card-reader, which is no more than 6-inches long and can be stored in the pocket,” said investigating officer Ramesh Nangare.

Once the waiter was done, he would hand over the device to Paul who would download the data from the cards on to Kamble’s personal computer. The duo would then feed the data into blank cards, available in the grey market. The cards were now ready to be used in shopping malls and theatres, or to withdraw money from an ATM.

Senior inspector Pradeep Shinde said that the boys forged information from more than 22 cards in this manner. The fraud came to light after officials from HSBC bank complained to the police. The cops quizzed customers whose cards had been duplicated and discovered they had all visited Hotel Kings International and paid by credit card. Investigators then caught the waiter who led them to the four youngsters. Paul, Kamble and the two other collegians identified as Manoj Chauhan (24) and Mahesh Valani (20), have been remanded to police custody.

NEW-AGE CRIME

A portable magnetic cardreader can store data from around a dozen cards that have been swiped through it; made in China, the device was bought on the net for Rs 18,000.

The card-reader is connected to a computer and the entire data is transferred there.

The data is then stored in blank cards available in the grey market.

These duplicate cards can now be used to buy a fortune and also withdraw money from ATMs

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