Kasaragod, August 14, 2016: The Kerala police on Friday busted an inter-State fake credit card racket and arrested six persons, including the kingpin of the gang, in a joint operation with their Maharashtra counterparts.
Four of the accused, including Newman, 24, of Thalankara in Kasaragod, the alleged mastermind, were apprehended in Pune, while the remaining two, identified as B. Basheer and N. Hamza of Vitla in Dakshina Kannada district, were picked up from Kasaragod.
Basheer and N. Hamza
Newman, Sabith, Gabriel Marian
Muhammed Sabith, 29, another member of the gang, had been arrested from Kochi last week. A fake credit card maker, swiping machines, hundreds of forged cards, and a vehicle were seized from the gang arrested in Pune. Newman, who worked at a supermarket in Dubai, is the kingpin of the racket, the police said. He, along with others, produced cloned credit cards after stealing data from cards possessed by customers who made purchases at the supermarket. The police revealed that they had procured card details of many Dubai-based Keralites as well.
The modus operandi of the fraudsters was to capture the credit card information of the unsuspecting customers with the help of a skimmer installed adjacent to the swipe machine at the supermarket. The malicious devise internally stored the details of the cards when they were swiped through the genuine card reader. Later, the fraudsters would clone the data on to the magnetic strip of the credit cards and emboss them onto blank cards. They purchased blank credit cards of a top private bank in the United States and cloned the stolen data onto them with the help of electromagnetic tapes. They even printed the word ‘Discover’ on the credit cards to make them appear genuine. The ‘Discover’ is a credit card, issued primarily in the US. After returning to Kerala, they travelled across the State and siphoned off money using the forged cards at different places in Kasaragod and Ernakulum.
They were leading a luxurious life in Pune, when they landed up in the police dragnet. The Kerala police have approached the court to get the custody of the four arrested by the Maharashtra police.
Basheer and Hamza were arrested after the others revealed to the police during interrogation about their role in manufacturing bogus cards. Their arrest will be recorded on Saturday, the police said.
Meanwhile, the team investigating the hi-tech ATM fraud at Thiruvananthapuram said that the accused had hatched the plot to rob ATMs in India before taking different flights to Mumbai from Romania. They were forced to abandon their plans in Mumbai and headed to Kerala due to the heavy rush at ATM booths there, Gabriel Marian, who arrested in connection with the fraud, revealed to the police. They checked over 50 kiosks in Thiruvananthapuram before settling on the SBI ATM Althara near Vellayambalam as they found it easy to install the skimmer there. Since the camera unit the gang installed inside the ATM center had only a two-day battery life, they had to change them thrice in a week’s time, Marian told the investigating officers.