A recent incident in Mumbai saw the retrieval of a fake ATM card from a man who had been trying to sell it. According to the police, the card that was recovered had the picture of Indian currency on it. The suspect had been trying to sell the card for Rs 35 lakh to a person whom he knew had come to Dubai several times and used his credit card there. The police recovered the card when the suspect's wife realized that her husband was trying to sell the card for cash. The amount was not in the bank.
The commissioner said that most people were using plastic money at ATMs today and most of them were unaware of the risk involved in trying to use fake currency at ATMs. According to him, people should be educated about the risk and use only real money. “If the person is willing to pay for it then he can go ahead and do it. However, it is advisable to use genuine money as much as possible and not use any fake ATM card as it is a fraudster's paradise and has high charges,” he added. According to the commissioner, this is the first case in Mumbai where such a theft occurred and the culprit was caught red handed.
A CCTV camera was installed near the ATM to catch the thief. The footage captured the man going inside the ATM and removing the CN stamped card inside a plastic pouch which he handed to an accomplice. The accomplice, identified as Vikas Swarup, ran away with the money. Vikas was picked by the commissioner from a nearby road and was identified as the owner of a number of websites which are known to indulge in skimming of credit card numbers. The commissioner said that there are many more such instances where people use the internet to conduct money transactions and most of them do not realize that there is a problem.
A team of officials from the Enforcement Division of the Mumbai Police swooped in and arrested the accused. Vikas Swarup has been charged with one count of unauthorized access and use of ATM machine. He has also been slapped with another charge of money laundering wherein he allegedly tried to disguise himself while he was trying to use another person's debit card to withdraw money from an ATM in Borivali. Investigators recovered a laptop belonging to Swarup which contained details of the illicit transaction.
The investigation revealed that several companies indulge in the crime of skimming of ATM cards in Mumbai. A number of companies which have set up shop in the region include Aditi Mutual Bank, Citibank, ICICI Bank Limited, ING Bank, RCBC Mumbai, State Bank of India and Unitech. The commissioner said that most of these companies do not have proper permission to operate in the area. It is very important for these banks to get a license as soon as possible because this will help in stopping the crime from progressing. He urged the authorities to take strong actions against these kinds of illicit associations.
The commissioner maintained that the best solution to tackle this kind of crime is to equip the banks and the financial institutions with anti-fraud devices so that they can detect any suspicious activity even before the customer gets his card. According to him, a bank card fraudster can open a new account in any bank in less than 24 hours by using his real identity. Skimming and other frauds can be detected as soon as the transaction is made. However, in most of the cases, the fraudster uses his real identity and charges the customer for services he does not provide. A high level of detection is required to curb such crimes.
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