A 25-YEAR-OLD public relations consultant from Khar became the latest victim of a debit card fraud when her card details were compromised and used for transactions in the United States. The Khar police suspect that her card details were cloned and sent to the US where they were used at a departmental store by the accused person to make purchases.
Investigators in the Cyber Crime cell of the Mumbai Police said there is a growing trend of card details being obtained fraudulently in one country and used to make purchases in another country in order to remain out of reach of law enforcement agencies.
Talking to The Indian Express, victim Vinita Jeswani said that on April 25, following an event at a five-star hotel in South Mumbai, she was headed back to her Khar residence. “It was at 8.58 pm when I got an SMS saying that my ICICI debit card had been used in a Walmart store in the US to make a purchase. Within the next five minutes, from 8.58 pm to 9.03 pm, I got a series of 15 messages saying that someone had cleaned out Rs 48,000 from my account,” said Jeswani. The damage was, however, not limited to these transactions. “The next morning, a few more unauthorised transactions in the US took place on the same card. All this while I was in Mumbai and the card was with me,” she added.
Jeswani then approached the local Khar police station where an FIR under Section 420 (cheating) and sections of the Information Technology Act were registered against unidentified persons. Jeswani then approached the ICICI bank head office at Bandra Kurla Complex to inform it about the incident. “However, at the bank they kept telling me that I must have given my debit card details to someone. I told them that I had not given my card details to anyone,” alleged Jeswani.
According to her, she was told that the sum could not be credited to her account until an investigation was complete, a process that would take 45 days.
Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for ICICI Bank said: “… In this case, the customer’s debit card was used on some international e-commerce websites, which do not require 3D secure authentication … The bank is very keen to help the customer in this matter. We have received the Charge Dispute Form and the chargeback has been raised. It takes 45 days to complete the investigation, as per the MasterCard/Visa guidelines…”
In the meantime, luckily for Jeswani, some of the transactions carried out fraudulently did not go through and some service establishments in the US returned the money. “Currently, the total loss stands at Rs 30,000. However, it is a scary experience, especially since I am careful with my card details,” said Jeswani.
An officer linked to the cyber cell said there have been several such cases where the accused obtain debit card details of people and use it abroad.
“The modus operandi used to get debit card details are several. In certain cases, cyber criminals install skimmers on ATM machines and get debit card details. In other cases, waiters at restaurants would swipe debit cards through skimming machines and make cloned cards,” the officer said.