Monday, February 25, 2008

Gang of con men accessing confidential credit card information and cheating people

Between last October and January, the detective department has received at least six complaints, mostly from up market areas. An officer said the complainants have been cheated of Rs 75,000 to Rs 2 lakh. “An organized racket is accessing confidential credit card information and using it to win the confidence of the card-owners”.

A gang of con men has been fooling credit card-holders in their homes with escamotage after winning their confidence by providing confidential details.

The cheater have been calling up card-holders pretending as officials of the banks that issued the cards and reel off information — such as the secret three-digit codes on the back of the cards — before offering to upgrade them.

A senior officer of the detective department said, “If allowed to, the gang-members turn up at the home of the card-holder. After introducing themselves as the bank officials who had called up, they request permission to take a look at the card. On the pretext of checking it, they replace it with a duplicate credit card and hand it over along with a sealed envelope, which is supposed to contain the new upgraded card”.

“To make the exercise look real, the men even cut up the fake card with scissors,” added the officer.

Krishna Kumar Das was the first to file a complaint about being cheated in this manner. He was defrauded of Rs 2.4 lakh, he told officers of Gariahat police station. Similar complaints followed from card-holders in New Alipore, Karaya and Ballygunge in the next few months.

“We have held meetings with representatives of the banks and asked them to review security arrangements and inform customers about the threat,” said city detective chief Jawed Shamim.

Some private banks have started taking precautionary measures are educating people by e sending text messages to customers to increase awareness about credit card security. Some other banks have started advertising campaigns.

“We have stopped issuing credit cards against other cards and have stopped offering personal loans to credit card-holders to cut down the possibility of information leak. From next month, bank statements will carry instructions on credit card handling,” said a senior risk management officer of a private bank.

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