The Bengaluru Police have arrested 7 individuals, part a 14-member international racket, in a crackdown of a massive identity theft racket that used skimmers to collect credit card data and clone credit cards of unsuspecting victims which they used to embark on a shopping spree in the names of the victims. Victims are typically not aware of the fraud until a statement arrives with purchases they did not make. Bengaluru is the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state.
The arrested are:
Eremhen Smart, Ajayi Kehinde, Oladeji Olayemi (Nigerians), Martin Nsamba (Ugandan) and Vikram Rao Nikkam (Indian) – MEN
Jollly Kayango and Tinah Thomas (Ugandans) – WOMEN
According to police, Ms Payal Mandal complained of fraudulent withdrawal from her HDFC Debit card to the tune of Rupees 94,318. Within span of one week several cases of fraudulent transaction of debit cards of different banks were reported in Banaswadi Police Station itself. On analyzing the statement of the accounts of all the complainants pertaining to fraudulent transactions it appeared that there were some similarities pertaining to the last transactions prior to fraudulent transactions. The similarities lead the investigation team to an ATM in Kamanahalli where the data of all these complainants was suspected to have been compromised in ATM using a skimmer. Further scrutiny and analysis of the statements of account showed that compromised data was used by some unknown person through an agent and fake cards were generated and swiped in a travel agency by name VIA. Later, the investigative officer approached VIA located in Bengaluru and collected the incriminating evidence and information of the suspects which led to their arrest on January 16 and recovery of mobiles phones, cloned credit cards of victims and millions in cash. The account of the travel agency has also been frozen.
Miss Jolly has also confessed that when she got wind of the investigation, she destroyed the magnetic card reader and disposed it in some lake in Dharwad.
The investigation team was led by Additional Police Commissioner Hemanth Nimbalkar. The police announced that they are leaving no stone unturned in efforts to nab the remaining 7 absconding members.
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