4 held for running card-cloning racketUpdated: Jan 09, 2020 00:37 IST
A debit/credit card cloning racket was busted and four people were arrested by Unit 8 of the Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday. Two of the accused worked at a petrol pump in Mira Road.
The accused had been running the racket since 2017 and had cloned hundreds of debit and credit cards of customers who came to the petrol pump. A card-reader (skimmer device), card-writer machine and several debit cards were seized from them.
A skimmer device is used to copy data from a debit or credit card’s magnetic strip. A card-writer machine copies data from debit/credit cards to dummy cards.
The arrested accused are Ritesh Agrawal, 27, who deals in second-hand cars; Haider Shaikh, 23, who is in the metal fabrication business; Rajesh Gauda, 33, and Umesh Lokare, 25, both work at the petrol pump in Kashimira area, Mira Road. All accused are Mira Road residents.
The main accused Agrawal, has been arrested in a similar case in Bhopal in 2016. He was released on bail after four months. In 2017, Agrawal approached Gauda and Lokare and gave them skimmer machines, offering them Rs 1500 per debit/credit card data. When the customers gave their debit/credit cards to the workers for fuel charges, the accused also swapped the cards in the skimmer device and copied the data, said senior inspector Ajay Joshi, unit 8.
“The accused also noted down customers’ PIN numbers when they typed them in the swapping machine,” said Akbar Pathan, deputy commissioner of police, crime branch unit 8.
After swapping 15 to 20 cards, Gauda and Lokare used to give the skimmer device to Agrawal and he transferred the data in a laptop. Later, through card-writer, all the data was transferred to dummy cards, enabling them to withdraw money from the victim’s account, the officer added.
The racket came to light after Arun Raut, a resident of Mulund, filed a complaint at the Mulund police station stating that someone had withdrawn Rs 10,700 from his account by cloning his debit card on December 24, 2019. The cash was withdrawn from an ATM at SV road, Jogeshwari. Unit 8 then started investigating the case.
On January 7, Agrawal and Shaikh came to Andheri to withdraw money and were waiting in a Skoda car near Vishal Hall in Andheri (East). Police inspector Deepak Sawant and his team from unit 8 were patrolling in the area and found them suspicious. “When we questioned the accused, they could not give a proper answer. During search we found a skimmer machine, a card-writer and several debit cards from their possession,” said Sawant. Inquiry revealed the involvement of Gauda and Lokare, and they too were arrested.
Agrawal used to give Shaikh 20 percent of the total withdrawal amount. Total 17 complaints in the case have been registered at Mulund police station. “We have been inquiring and trying to get other victim’s details who lost their money. The accused were produced in a court and were remanded in police custody till January 17,” said a police officer.