Card-cloning crimes have stumped the cyber wing of the Mumbai police. No arrests have been made in the 150 cases registered so far this year.
The fact that the cards are used abroad makes the scope of the investigation much larger, and it is not as easy to get a quick response from foreign authorities, an officer from the cyber wing of the Mumbai police said.
"When a crime takes place abroad, even getting the Internet Protocol (IP) address, which helps to find out the location of a computer, turns out to be a lengthy process compared to the time it would take to get the IP address of a computer in the country," said Mukund Pawar, inspector, Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC).
Police officials said they were focusing their investigations on the local links in the rackets, hoping this will lead them to the others involved. But they haven't been able to do so yet, an official said.
When asked about this lack of success, an officer from the cyber wing said, "There is a lot of paperwork involved as we have to go through the bank statements of all the victims and try to find a common shop that could have swiped the card. At times, there are delays from the banks' end in sending us the documents. Sometimes they send us incomplete information. It is a time-consuming procedure."
Pawar said that on several occasions, the complainant's priority is to get a credit refund from their bank for the fraudulent transaction, and once the money is back in their account, they lose interest in the case.
"After we give them a stamped copy of the application, they submit it to the bank which then carries out its own investigations. Once the bank is convinced that the transaction was made fraudulently, they credit the amount back," Pawar said.
Often, people are reluctant to admit that they fell prey to a crime after clicking on a phishing link in an e-mail. "They think if they admit to having done that, they may not get the money back from their bank on the grounds of carelessness. We have to take them into confidence before they honestly tell us if they have clicked on any of these links," said another officer.