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Pune: Card-cloning fraud nets engineering student, hunt on for gang

An FIR has been registered at Bhosari police station by local resident and one of the three customers, Pimple Gurav, 35, who lost Rs 50,000 from his bank account briefly after visiting a bar at Landewadi in Bhosari.

By: Express News Service | Pune | January 3, 2021 8:39:54 pm
The police said it was arguably the biggest raid and recovery during any action against illegal gutkha trade.

Police have launched a probe into a suspected card-cloning racket following the arrest of a 23-year-old engineering student who used to work as waiter at a Bhosari hotel. The student had allegedly cloned cards of three customers who ended up losing over Rs 94,000.

An FIR has been registered at Bhosari police station by local resident and one of the three customers, Pimple Gurav, 35, who lost Rs 50,000 from his bank account briefly after visiting a bar at Landewadi in Bhosari. The probe revealed that two more customers, who had visited the bar on December 4 and 15, had lost Rs 25,000 and Rs 19,500 respectively, from their accounts. These amounts had been withdrawn from an ATM kiosk in Bihar.

A team from the Bhosari police station, led by inspector Jitendra Kadam, launched the investigation with the help of Pimpri Chinchwad police’s cybercrime cell. The investigators initially zeroed in on a waiter who had served all the three fraud victims. They subsequently identified the waiter as a student, a Jalgaon native, who is pursuing his diploma in engineering. He was arrested on Saturday and was subsequently remanded to police custody for a week.

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The probe revealed that the student had been using a skimming device to steal data from at least three cards handed over to him by the customers during bill payment at the bar. The data was then shared with a racketeer who is suspected to have given him the card-skimming device. While the main racketeer withdrew Rs 94,500 from the three cards, the student received less than Rs 4,000 as his share, an officer said.

Inspector Kadam said, “A hunt is on to nab the accused with whom the student was in touch. We are trying to find if more people are involved in this fraud. We are also probing why and how the student was tapped by the racketeers and if more people have been defrauded in a similar fashion.”

Cloning of cards, also referred to as skimming, involves electronic theft of the credit or debit card data using various methods. The stolen data are used by fraudsters to gain access to users’ bank accounts and withdraw money. Officials said that such crimes require a lot of technical knowhow, elaborate set of software and electronic systems. Generally, such fraudsters use mules to get access to card information.

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