Monday, September 15, 2008

Credit card skimming case: More arrests likely - - 12 Sep 2008

AHMEDABAD: Your credit card may have several clones and they could well be misused even as you read. The arrest of credit card skimmer Kalpesh Patel, 32, on September 5 has opened a veritable Pandora's box. Kalpesh's interrogation has revealed his accomplice's names.

However, their whereabouts are not known to officials. Moreover, experts showed concern over the modus operandi and indicated that there could be more victims of the racketeers from other states.

"We nabbed Kalpesh, a technician and former employee of a private bank, from his residence in Meghaninagar during a night raid. We got a tip-off from the bank's unit who had kept a watch over his various transactions," said inspector of Satellite police station , JJ Patel.

"The officials told us that they were surprised to find that some of the cards of ICICI bank that were used for the illegal transactions were way beyond the expiry date - by more than six months. After that, the bank officials kept a vigil at the central unit where they reported regular transactions from expired cards. Illegal transactions were also detected of clones of existing credit cards," said a police official.

The bank officials later found out that the cards had been used at petrol pumps, restaurants and shopping malls in Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai and some other south Gujarat cities. "We believe that Patel took a training in maintaining the card swiping machine. We can't reveal the technical details, but their mechanism is clear and simple. The gang used to ambush the online system. The racketeers selected the spots not frequented by many and insisted that they swipe the card themselves.

As soon they swiped the card, they entered the code meant for the handler of the swiping machine to shift online mode to offline mode," the police official said. Once this was done, the transaction line connected directly to the main server at the bank, sieved through the data and also processed a number of criterion instantly - such as authentication of the user, credit limit , last transaction, CVV number - if needed, and the place where the transaction took place. The gang used to disable this verification function to enable illegal transactions, he added "We are in the process of collecting more data about the gang's activities at other places. We have also recorded statements of some of the shopkeepers who were victims of the strategy. We are also talking to Patel's relatives and former employers to know more about his background," said Patel.

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