Bangalore: Credit card racket unearthed

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BANGALORE, September 1, 2013

Two Sri Lankan nationals arrested and 50 fake credit cards seized

The city police on Saturday arrested two Sri Lankan nationals who were part of a four-member ring that made fake credit cards of many national and international banks.

The police found that these fake cards were swiped in multiple retail locations in Bangalore and Chennai, spending no less than Rs. 10 lakh. The money funded what the police described as a “luxurious life” where they lived in posh hotels, partied in the best pubs and shopped lavishly.

The arrested — Marthahalli resident Mahendar Karunaraj (50) and Madurai resident Ashwin Kumar (30) — worked with two others. The police said that Mahendar’s childhood friend, who lived in France, would collect data of various national (Indian) and international banks and send the data via email to Mahendar in exchange for money.

Besides, Mahendar also took the help of another friend for procuring an encoder (to read and write the data on the fake cards) and an embosser to imprint the printed data on the cards. The police said that the fourth friend was a native of Kerala but did not have a permanent address. He would travel across cities in the country and gather data which he would pass on to Mahendar. The plain plastic cards were procured from Malaysia through their associate in France.

Modus operandi

The police detailed their modus operandi, which involved using the encoder (connected to their laptop) to print the name and 16-digit card numbers on to plastic cards. The police said that the group had written their own software to prepare the cards, including embossing the data on the cards.

The accused would swipe the cards to buy expensive items that they would then sell directly to customers.

How they were caught

The police were able to nab the accused after a CCTV camera of a store in Chennai captured Mahendar’s image while he was making the purchase. This turned out to be a vital clue in the police investigation. The police said they had also been keeping a close tab on such gangs after similar frauds were reported earlier in the city and a tip-off helped them nab the suspects.

During interrogation, Mahendar, who has finished 12 standard, claimed he had been involved in a similar business in Sri Lanka too. He said he had been arrested in 2007. However, the police are yet to verify this. Mahendar told them that after his first stint in prison he sold vegetables and textiles for a while. After suffering huge losses, he returned to his old ways. He would make frequent visits to Chennai as well, police said.

The other accused Ashwin Kumar, also a citizen of Sri Lanka, shifted to Tamil Nadu about 10 to 12 years ago after his close relatives passed away. He worked as a driver before he teamed up with Mahendar.

The police have seized 50 such fake cards in the name of various well-known banks, two laptops, a pen drive along with encoder and embosser machines and cash from the accused.

He is a Software Engineer from Moodbidri currently living in Kuwait. He likes to travel and post interesting things about technology. He is the designer of Kannadigaworld.com. You may follow him on FB at fb.com/alanpaladka

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