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Cerdit card scam: Shopkeepers under scanner

The economic offences wing of the Mumbai police has busted a credit and debit card racket in which some shopkeepers had cloned the cards and showed fake transactions.

According to sources, some Nigerians used to supply the accused with cloned cards through which they showed huge purchases to get money from the banks. Hukumsingh Prithviraj Rao (29), who runs Welcome Electronic Shop in Mira Road, was arrested from Panjim in Goa after he fled fearing arrest. Rao has been booked for cheating, criminal breach of trust and forgery.

The police said some other associates of Rao, including two jewellers, are under the scanner. Joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said a few more shopkeepers, jewellers and travel agents are under the scanner for the over Rs 2 crore scam. "We have already arrested two persons--Feroz Shaikh and S Makwana--in the scam,'' said Maria.

The ICICI Bank had lodged a complaint with the Samata Nagar police after it got several complaints from the credit and debit card holders showing huge bills of purchases which they never did.

Based on this, the bank sent executives to check the gaps in the system and were shocked to find out that some shopkeepers were misusing the Electronic Data Capturing (EDC) machines which the bank had given them. EDC machines are given to the shopkeepers to swipe customers' cards after purchases. "Feroz Shaikh, an employee of Surby, whom the bank had given outsourcing work, supplied the EDC machines to several merchants without verifying their credentials,'' said Maria.

And as per new guidelines, any customer making a purchase of over Rs 7,500 has to submit a photocopy of identification proof. During the scrutiny, it emerged that a few NRIs who had not made any purchase too received huge bills. "The bank made inquiries and traced Rao as one of the accused. When the police went through the photcopies submitted by various clients, many were found to be fake,'' said an officer.

"While shopkeepers got a 10% share of the fraud, the Nigerians who are running this racket took away the rest. It's a big racket,'' added Maria.

Source: TOI


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