Cybercrimes in Mumbai: Card safe in wallet, but not cash in account

  • Vijay Kumar Yadav, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2015 22:24 IST

The rise may not be staggering, but increasing credit and debit card frauds in Mumbai have the city police worried.

In 2014, seven cases of debit and credit card frauds were reported till March 31. However, this year, the number has touched 56.

In most cases, the complainants are either victims of skimming or gave their details to a ‘bank executive’.

Twenty-six-year-old Mohammed Badalu Khan, a resident of Kurla (West), was a victim of one such scam.

A few months ago, Khan, who runs a hotel in Wadala, was in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh for his mother’s operation when he received a call from a woman claiming to be an executive from the nationalised bank in which he has a savings account.

The woman told Khan that his debit card had been blocked and he would need to give the card details if he wanted it reactivated.

Fearing that he would lose his card, Khan gave the woman his personal identification number (PIN), the police said.

Within minutes of disconnecting the call, Khan received 10-12 SMS alerts for online bill payments and recharges worth Rs 46,300.

An FIR was registered by the Vinobha Bhave Nagar police on April 8.

Khan is one of the many who has been fooled by cybercriminals. Police say in most cases, the accused claim to be bank employees to gain the victim’s trust. Then on the pretext of verification or increasing the credit limit, they get the card’s details.

Many have also fallen victim to card cloning, in which members of a gang steal data by fitting skimming device on ATM machines, swiping machines at petrol pump and shopping outlets. The stolen data is then used to clone the card.

A senior IPS officer attributed the rise in the number of cases to more victims approaching the police. “People from all segments of society are now vulnerable and becoming victims of these gangs. As the fraudsters already have all the details, they gain the victim’s trust by posing as a bank executive,” the officer said, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

“When the victim realises what has happened, he gets the card blocked, asks the bank for transactions details and files a police complaint. By the time the police trace the beneficiary account or reach the outlet where the unauthorised transactions took place, at least two-three months have passed and the fraudsters have escaped,” said a BKC cyber police official.

Cyber experts Vijay Mukhi said cybercrime police units needed more manpower and trained personnel to tackle the problem. “I have not heard of officers from the city going abroad to take training in cybercrime control,” he said.

Taking serious note of the increase in cases, and after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ intervention, the police have prepared a major programme to control cybercrime.

On Wednesday, HT had reported the police will soon have four new cyber cells investigation cells. Joint commissioner of police, Crime, Atulchandra Kulkarni said the new cells will be part of the crime branch.

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