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The vicious circle of borrow-n-sorrow

?HELLO SIR/MAM!? That is precisely how they begin. And you end up possessing that plastic money! You punch and flash it with gusto?at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and shopping malls, at hotels and petrol pumps. The punch-n-swipe game continues till you receive a ?hefty? bank statement. Worse could be in store when you discover that someone else had been happily spending your money. Welcome to the vicious circle of borrow-n-sorrow.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 01:46 IST

“HELLO SIR/MAM!” That is precisely how they begin. And you end up possessing that plastic money!

You punch and flash it with gusto—at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and shopping malls, at hotels and petrol pumps. The punch-n-swipe game continues till you receive a  ‘hefty’ bank statement. Worse could be in store when you discover that someone else had been happily spending your money. Welcome to the vicious circle of borrow-n-sorrow.

Top cops feel that the credit card mania unleashed by banks has reached a stage where everybody is desirous of having a card. “Just consider the increase in the number of shops accepting payment through card facility,” a top cop said.

The result: A sudden increase in the number of card swiping machines and even more chances of you being cheated through a ‘skimmer’ or a cloning machine which records your credit card details and helps ‘smart criminals’ in producing a cloned version of your card. Now, even if you don’t shop, you pay. For someone else is shopping on your card.

The Special Task Force (STF), that busted a credit card racket on Sunday, was taken aback when it found that Kuljeet Singh, proprietor of Lucky Travels at Shahnajaf road, had four card swiping machines of different banks. Singh was among those arrested yesterday.  And the STF discovered that a whopping Rs 1.30 crore were ‘swiped’ clean through the cloned credit cards of several foreign nationals from Singh’s ‘swiping instruments.

The banks that issued the ‘swipers’ to Singh obviously didn’t bother to keep track of Singh’s track record. “He was booked twice for fraud — once for making counterfeit currency and again for selling plain salt after sticking the label of a prominent company on it,” SSP STF SK Bhagat told HT. 

The STF has now decided to write to the DGP in this regard. “We would be informing the DGP about all that is happening,” Bhagat said adding, “Hopefully, something would be done in this regard.” 

The banks too, apparently in a bid to retain their credibility, have started making the right noises.

ICICI bank, whose swiping machine was also available with Kuljeet, was the first to inform HT that an “internal probe would be ordered to find how bank’s laid down policy was circumvented.”

Charudutt Deshpande, head, corporate communications of ICICI Bank, whose establishment had also given a swiping machine to Kuljeet Singh, informed Hindustan Times on phone from Mumbai, “Inquiries are made about those vendors wanting a swiping machine.

In this case we apparently erred.” The ‘Hum Hain Na’ bank might be serious about cleaning up the mess at its end, but top cops feel that in the maddening rush to grab more customers proper scrutiny was the first casualty in several banks. Gullible consumers may be the next.