Cyber crime thrives in Mumbai, credit goes to your police

Watch out : Credit, debit card frauds rise, but fewer cases solved; no record of 15 solved cases
Hindustan Times | By Jayprakash S Naidu
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2017 10:13 AM IST

April 11: A Chandivli resident is cheated of Rs60,000; the criminal uses it to recharge 23 mobile phones.

April 21: A man poses as an SBI official to cheat a senior citizen couple of Rs40,000.

April 24: A woman says she is calling from a private bank, convinces a Jogeshwari resident to reveal his card details and robs him of Rs10,000.

April 27: A criminal who tracked the online shopping details of a businessman used it to rob Rs75,000 from his account.

That’s four cases of fraud involving credit and debit cards in one month. In the first four months of this year, 178 such cases were registered. Only 15 of them were solved.

The numbers represent a scary trend —not only because cases of card fraud have gone up from last year (166 cases were registered in the first four months of 2016), but also because the police solved fewer cases than they did last year (22 cases were solved in January-April 2016)

But what’s scarier is that there is no record with the Mumbai police of the money recovered in the few cases that were solved.

A Right to Information query Hindustan Times filed with the Mumbai Police Headquarters revealed this. HT then took up the issue of this rising crime with the Mumbai police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar.

“The complaints we received on Twitter are being forwarded to the cyber police station at Bandra Kurla Complex. The cyber criminals switch off their mobile phones after committing the crime. They operate from others states. We are spreading awareness about the issue now,” Padsalgikar told HT.

Over the last two years, card fraud cases have been steadily rising in Mumbai, but the police’s detection rate has remained poor. In 2016, 423 cases were registered and 54 were solved — a poor detection percentage of 12.

In 2015, 320 cases were registered and 36 were detected, a detection percentage of 11.

‘SBI official’ cons senior citizen couple

A man posed as a State Bank of India official to cheat a senior citizen couple of Rs40,000. The couple, however, was quick to react and froze their accounts before more money could be withdrawn.

The police investigating the case said the man who cheated them not only knew the couple had an account with the bank, but also that they had recently lost a credit card and had just got a new one.

On April 21, around 11.30am, the complainant, a 71-year-old man got a phone call.

The man on the other end told the senior citizen that he was calling from the SBI headquarters. The cyber criminal verified with the complainant if he had lost his card and whether a new one had been issued. He told the complainant he will need a few details to “activate” the card.

The complainant called his wife, who gave him the card details and the one time password. In nine minutes, the couple got two messages that money was being withdrawn from their account.

The 71-year-old was quick to respond and called the bank to block the transactions.

The criminal’s third transaction did not go through.

A police official said this was the most common way cyber criminals use to con card holders.

“You do not need to activate a credit or debit card. The bank never asks for such details. If you receive such a phone call, report it to the local police.”

Attractive offer costs bizman 75k

In a case that shows how vulnerable the information we give out online is, a cyber criminal tracked the transactions of an Andheri businessman on a shopping site and used the information to cheat him of Rs75,000.

The criminal posed as a telecaller from the shopping website, and got the 45-year-old complainant’s card details by luring him with an attractive offer on a washing machine.

On April 27, around 11.45am, the complainant got a phone call from the criminal, who said he was a salesman from the site.

The criminal revealed details of a transaction the complainant made on the website 20 days ago .

He said the site had a new offer for him. The complainant gave out his debit card details, and the pin. The criminal used it to make 15 transactions worth Rs 75,000.

The complainant got his card blocked and approached the police.

“By giving out his pin, the complainant made the criminal’s work very easy. We are finding out how the criminal knew about the shopping done by the complainant earlier,” said an officer from the Andheri police station, requesting anonymity.

Woman poses as bank official, steals card details, 10k

A woman posing as a bank official cheated a Jogeshwari resident of Rs10,000. She got him to reveal his card number and CVV by telling him he had won bonus points for transactions on the card and that the details were needed to transfer the money to him.

The 47-year-old victim got a call on April 24 around 5.15 pm.

The woman on the phone introduced herself as an official from the head office of ICICI bank. As the complainant has an account with the bank and a credit card, he did not suspect anything was amiss. She took his 16-digit card number, the CVV and the one time password he got on his mobile number. Ten minutes later, he got an SMS from the bank telling him Rs10,000 was debited from his account.

The man quickly called the bank’s helpline and blocked the card.

The bank told him that they never call asking for personal details of their customers.

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