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Mumbaiites beware, your waiter might be cloning your card while you make payment at a hotel

Mumbai city news: They swiped the card in such a manner, that it swiped on the payment machine as well as the skimmer below it at the same time.

mumbai Updated: Jul 07, 2017 01:04 IST

Interrogations of the eight men, including six waiters, who were arrested by the Bandra police for allegedly a running credit card/debit card cloning racket in Mumbai, Pune and Thane has revealed that the eight skimmers that were found with the accused were ordered online. Card skimmers are small in size, and can fit in the palm of a hand.

The waiters, on occasions, kept the skimmer right below the payment machine. They then swiped the card in such a manner, that it swiped on the payment machine as well as the skimmer below it, making difficult for the customer to make out. They then observed them as they punched the four digit pin number on the keypad of the payment machine, and memorised it.

The police said on most occasions the customers handed over their credit card and debit cards along with the pin code, making it easy for the waiters’ to steal their data.

The waiters hid the skimmer in their shirt pockets or inside their shirt. An official said even if the customer sees a skimmer in the waiter’s hand, he wouldn’t be able to make out what it was.

An official said three of the waiters worked at a restaurant called Persian Durbar in Sakinaka, but they had associates working at other hotels in Andheri, including Metro hotel.

Read: Three waiters arrested in Mumbai for fraud and cloning ATM cards

One of the accused made over 25 lakh from the racket:

The Bandra police investigating the racket said one of the accused, who worked as a waiter, made Rs1 lakh within few months and said his handler, who is also under arrest, made over Rs25 lakh since 2016 when they started stealing card data using skimmers.

A police source said, “They stole data of 1,026 customers having bank accounts in 96 different banks, including eight major banks.”

“The list we procured from one of the banks shows they managed to withdraw anywhere between Rs20,000 to Rs40,000 from one account. Even as one of the accused said his handler made over Rs25 lakh, we suspect the total stolen amount could be much higher,” added the official.

Read: Card cloning racket: Mumbai gang steals debit, credit card data from 1,000 customers of 96 banks

Incidentally, only two banks have shared their customer data with the Bandra police, which has helped them ascertain names of the victims whose money has been withdrawn by the accused. Till now, over 25 FIRs have been registered across Mumbai, Pune and Thane.

“However, as banks are taking a lot of time to respond to our emails, our work of identifying victims based on their data and getting the FIRs registered is getting delayed. If more and more cases are registered we could ensure that the accused do not get bail and stay in jail,” added a police source on condition of anonymity.

One of the arrested accused was also arrested in 2015 by the BKC cyber police for a card cloning case, but he got out on bail and continued the scam, the police added.

The racket was unearthed last month after an FIR was registered with Bandra police by Citi bank in May.