A 50-year-old Napean Sea road resident is the latest victim of a card cloning racket after a gang of criminals cloned her debit card and used it to make 16 withdrawals worth Rs 1.60 lakh from ATMs.
Police said the woman had opted for SMS and e-mail alerts, but couldn’t raise an alarm about the unauthorised transactions on time as the SMSs were delivered late.
The complainant Gopali Mahesh Vora, employed with a global business process management firm, has a savings account with a private bank’s Ghatkopar branch. In her complaint to the Malabar Hill police, she said between 11.53pm on January 6 and 5.11am on January 7, she had received 16 SMS alerts from the bank about as many transactions. She was shocked as the card was in her possession.
On learning about the unauthorised withdrawals, Vora immediately called the bank’s customer care number, but was unable to get through to bank representatives. Her daughter then made a phone call to a helpline desk’s landline number and got the card blocked, the police said.
After lodging a formal complaint with the bank, Vora recently approached the Malabar Hill police station and registered a case under section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code. “Vora told us she learnt about the fraud late as she received alert messages late and by the time she could block the card, the criminals had already cleaned money from her account,” said assistant inspector Satish Kadam of the Malabar Hill police station.
A preliminary probe has revealed that the fraudsters have used the cloned card and withdrawn money from two ATM kiosks in the Tardeo area. “We managed to obtain CCTV footage of these ATM kiosks in which the accused is seen withdrawing the money, however, his face cannot be seen as he has covered it with a scarf,” Kadam said, adding, “One ATM was unguarded, while the guard at the other kiosk didn’t ask the suspect why he had covered his face. He said he assumed the man was feeling cold.”
The Malabar Hill police have transferred the case to Tardeo police as withdrawals had taken place in their jurisdiction. Investigators are yet to ascertain where the complainant’s debit card was stolen.