In one week, at least 75 transactions were carried out using NRI Kiran Parab’s debit card details, but the 40-year-old did not have a clue that around Rs 7.5 lakh had been spent from his bank account.
Parab, who lives with his family in Nigeria’s Victoria Island in Lagos city for the past 12 years, did not receive any notification on his mobile phone, as he had not activated the SMS alerts. “He would get e-mail updates, which would pop up on his computer screen in Nigeria. But as he was on a vacation, he wasn’t checking his emails frequently and found out about the fraud only after returning from a tour of Rajasthan,” said an officer from the Byculla police station.
Parab became the latest victim of a card-cloning gang operating in Mumbai. The gang’s members hit jackpot after they found out that the withdrawal limit on the card was Rs 1 lakh a day.
Employed with Hyundai Motors as an engineer, Parab had come to India on December 6 and was staying at his sister’s house in Andheri, the police said.
“He and his relatives were in Rajasthan from December 31 to January 6. During this period, the accused use Parab’s cloned debit card to withdraw money at various ATM kiosks and make payments at shopping centres, and retail outlets in Mazagaon, Churchgate, Tardeo, Mumbai Central and Sion,” said a police officer.
According to the police, the first transaction was of Rs 50 for a website registration, and probably to know the withdrawal limit. The victim had Rs40 lakh in his account. “The accused also used the card to make a payment of Rs 734 at a wine shop at Lamington Road,” said another officer.
As the first unauthorised withdrawal was from an ATM in Mazagaon, a cheating case was registered with the Byculla police on January 8. “We have obtained CCTV footage of the ATM in Mazagaon. We are in collecting feeds from other kiosks,” said sub-inspector Hanmant Bhingare.
The police are also trying to find out how Parab’s card was cloned. They are likely to add sections of Information Technology Act in the case.