The Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell on Thursday claimed to have unearthed a gang of scammers who were cloning bank card data of customers of hotels and shops through duplicate ‘point of sale’ machines after sending their members to work at hotels and restaurants in different cities across the country.
According to police, three persons, who are allegedly involved in the scam, have been arrested from New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat.
The ‘point of sale’ machine is a card reader machine used to save the data of the cards including their passwords. Later duplicate cards were made through card writer machines. Point of sale machines are card swiping machines issued by banks to businesses for payment through debit or credit cards.
The Cyber Crime Cell got a whiff of the scam after the management of ‘Four Points by Sheraton’ Hotel in Ahmedabad alerted the police recently regarding the alleged involvement of one of their employees in cloning bank card data of their customers.
The employee was identified as Digvijay Singh, a native of Bihar, who was serving as assistant front desk manager at the hotel.
The Cyber Crime Cell on Thursday arrested Digvijay Singh, Yuvraj Singh, a resident of Delhi, and Atul Ghelani from Surat.
Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, Amit Vasava, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime Cell said, “We had received a complaint wherein the victim had faced a fraud of Rs 40,000 by illegal withdrawal from an ATM. Similarly, two other persons had also approached us stating their ATM cards were compromised. During the investigation, we found that all three complainants had stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel recently. We suspected that their cards have been skimmed in the hotel itself.”
Skimming refers to the process of cloning of bank cards details and later using a card writer machine to create duplicate cards with same data in order to withdraw money from the ATM.
“Through CCTV, we found out that Digvijay Singh was involved in these activities. He was arrested and we found a duplicate card reader with him. This card reader is the duplicate point of sale machine of a bank using which Digvijay used to first swipe the card of customers and pretend that the card didn’t read. He then tried the other machine which was the real machine of the hotel for the payment,” the officer said.
“Digvijay then used to give this card data to Yuvraj Singh in Delhi, who had provided him the card reader machine via mail. A team was sent to Delhi to arrest Yuvraj Singh and we have found two duplicate card reader and card writer machines with him. Later, we also got to know that one more person Atul Ghelani was also involved in this,” the DCP said.
Police also said that Yuvraj Singh has given similar card reader machines to two shops in Goa and Marriot hotel in Karn-ataka wherein his gang members are currently working as staff.
“Till now seven cards of customers in Sheraton Hotel, more than 30 cards in Marriot Hotel in Karnataka and over 40 cards from two shops in Goa have been cloned as per data received from the laptop of Yuvraj. The accused had purchased the card reader and card writer machines on Chinese retail website Alibaba and he had asked Digvijay to join Sheraton Hotel in March this year,” said Vasava.
The accused were booked under IPC sections 420 (fraud), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery), 120b (criminal conspiracy) and relevant sections of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act.
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