Fraud alert on credit cards
A STAFF REPORTER
Are you the type who swears by plastic money and flaunts credit cards on the slightest pretext? Think twice next time, before handing over the card at a shop counter.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Calcutta Police’s detective department have come across a few cases where credit cards have been duplicated without the owner getting a whiff of it.
“The credit cards have been duplicated and then used to buy items without the owner’s knowledge. Such gadget-based hi-tech crimes, so far prevalent only in other metros, have finally arrived here, and the number of complaints is on the rise,” claims R.K. Mohanty, additional director-general of police (CID).
CID officers stumbled upon one such case where a professor lodged a complaint that Rs 10,000 had been withdrawn using his credit card on a day when he hadn’t even stepped out of home. A probe revealed that it was the handiwork of a racket specialising in duplicating credit cards.
“Once the card is handed over for swiping, it is placed inside a pocket-sized gadget that copies all the details, including the card number, the name, address and the age of the card-holder,” said a senior CID officer. The gadget is then fitted to a computer and the information downloaded. Thereafter, an exact replica of the card is made, using the details.
Cops claim the gadgets, priced between Rs 200 and Rs 300, have already arrived from Delhi and Mumbai into the city’s grey market.
In yet another case, the thief went jewellery shopping with the fake card at a reputed showroom on Camac Street, but forgot the credit limit.
When he exceeded the limit, the staff decided to check with the bank and realised he was not the original owner. “He, however, slipped out of the shop before the police could arrive,” said an officer.
“If the offender uses the fake card outside the city, how can we track him down?” asked an officer, when questions were raised why no one had been arrested so far.
However, the police have a few tips for credit card-holders:
Don’t hand over the card to shop staff
Avoid using the card at bars. Trust only reputed shops
Avoid purchasing on the Net using card number
Keep tab of which credit card is in use.