Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Criminals find inventive ways of frauds

In the recent time two different types of credit card frauds have come into limelight. In one of the frauds, a South Mumbai resident who was on a social visit to Ahmedabad received a sms alert on his mobile sent by the bank which stated that the available credit limit on his card was lower than his purchase value.

A transaction for Rs 62,000 (1,500 US dollars) has been done on ‘his’ card in Angkor Vat (Cambodia), and the he had never in life had visited there and he has never given his card to anybody.

The Barclays Bank, the card issuing bank after pressure and the case appearing in the news, agreed to reverse the transaction, but that too only after it appeared in the press the bank was forced to do something about the matter. Till then, the bank had was not paying attention to the complaints of the customer and had been bounced from one executive to another, at the new fangled call centers with their polite, monotonous, robotic answers.

It is being considered that the card in question had been duplicated and the computer only recognized the ‘card number’, which seemed to be the same as the one on the original owner’s card.

Some time back, a city resident was charged for buying a card-duplicating machine through internet. The gang then got in a friendship with a waiter in a Juhu hotel, who would swipe credit cards on this machine. Then the data was downloaded on to a computer, the owner’s details obtained and fraudulent cards obtained to make transactions. In card fraud phraseology this is known as Counterfeit Card Fraud or skimming. In this case, the city police was able to take an action and caught the fraudsters.

On doing a search on google it has been discovered that the credit and debit card frauds seem to rise every year. Cyber-savvy criminals are getting innovative and are finding new ways to duplicate cards.

Amongst Internet frauds (the classic one is the e-mail fraud, where e-mails appear usually from Nigeria asking people to reveal their bank details and send money) and mobile phone crimes, calls made from duplicated SIM cards and cell phones used in terrorism, including those used to detonate bombs, criminals have shown that they can easily keep up, outdo and use evolving technology. These frauds are not innovation of empty minds but a tech-savvy one that can be the devil’s workshop. It makes one desire for a world, where the telephone was a great instrument with its receiver trailing on a wire; the ‘net’ is something linked with fishing and plastic meant plastic buckets in bathrooms and plastic smiles at swish parties, no plastic money. The age of innocence may not have been spotless, but it is less complicated than the age of convenience.

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