How your discarded credit, debit card goes from ragpicker to fraudster

Dadar cops nab Byculla conman, who bought discarded credit, debit cards from ragpickers, pickpockets before loading them with genuine account data using Data Reading Machines and siphoning off lakhs

Next time you think of discarding an old debit or credit card, make sure to destroy it to the extent that it can never be reused. Merely cancelling the card will not do, as fraudsters come up with ever more ingenious ways to loot others — the Dadar police proved this with the arrest of a Byculla conman who would collect discarded cards and then activated them with fresh user data, siphoning off lakhs from unsuspecting victims.

Also Read: Trio paid Rs 4 lakh bill at Mumbai 5-star with stolen credit card details

Cops caught Nasir Usman Gani Ansari red-handed as he was withdrawing money using a bogus card
Cops caught Nasir Usman Gani Ansari red-handed as he was withdrawing money using a bogus card

The accused, Nasir Ansari (38), lives at a transit camp in Byculla, with his wife and two children. He is the co-owner of a shoe manufacturing unit, and although he earned decent profits from the business, he had allegedly been moonlighting as a drug peddler for the past three years. Four months ago, it was while he was dealing that he met the mastermind of the credit card racket, who taught him how to make a killing out of inactive cards.

Ansari was on the police radar since December, when he was caught on CCTV withdrawing cash from an ATM in Chembur
Ansari was on the police radar since December, when he was caught on CCTV withdrawing cash from an ATM in Chembur

Modus operandi
“The accused would keep in contact with ragpickers and pickpockets across the city and buy stolen or discarded credit and debit cards from them for Rs 50 to 100. The mastermind had given him a Data Reader Machine (DRM) and a laptop and taught him how to activate the cards,” said Assistant Police Inspector Deepali Kulkarni of Dadar police station.

Read Story: Fake credit card racket foiled

The police recovered this Data Reader Machine and laptop from him, as well as 30 bogus credit cards
The police recovered this Data Reader Machine and laptop from him, as well as 30 bogus credit cards

Ansari would connect the laptop to the DRM and swipe the dummy cards, erasing all the old data on them. He would then swipe the cards again to upload data belonging to a completely different user. The mastermind had provided Ansari with a whole list of users and their card details, along with the ATM PIN numbers. The police are yet to confirm how the racketeers got hold of confidential card details of the victims.

Illustration/Uday Mohite

But it wasn’t just the gadget that was clever; the conmen had thought of everything. Ansari would use the cards to make withdrawals around midnight, so that even if the victims received notification, they wouldn’t be able to respond in time. The timing was also clever for one other reason — if Ansari withdrew the maximum daily amount just before midnight and then waited for five to ten minutes, he could then make another withdrawal which would be counted as the next day’s transaction.

Ansari had been on the police radar since December, when he was caught on CCTV at a Chembur ATM making withdrawals using fake cards
Ansari had been on the police radar since December, when he was caught on CCTV at a Chembur ATM making withdrawals using fake cards

Ansari had made at least 25 such transactions in the past four months, with each transaction siphoning off about R1 lakh from the victims. But his luck eventually ran out.

Arrest
Ansari was on the police radar since December, when he fraudulently withdrew cash from an ATM in Chembur. The local police forwarded his CCTV images to ATMs across the city, so on Monday, when Ansari entered the IDBI ATM opposite Siddhivinayak temple around 11.55 pm, the security guard instantly recognised him.

Also Read: Man steals houseguest's debit card, swipes Rs 8.6 lakh with it

Ansari withdrew R50,000 with the help of one of the bogus cards and returned to withdraw the same amount again at 12.05 am.

Meanwhile, the ATM guard called a watchman at another IDBI ATM behind the temple and warned him about the conman. Even as they were talking on the phone, Ansari arrived at the second ATM. Hearing this, the first guard immediately ran out to the cops outside Siddhivinayak and told them about the crime. The cop told the guard to hop onto his bike, and they reached the second ATM to catch Ansari red-handed as he was making a withdrawal. “Luckily, the security guard manning the ATM centre had seen the images of Ansari and identified him at first glance. He alerted the cops, and a team rushed to the spot and arrested Ansari red-handed,” said API Kulkarni.

Network
The police believe that Ansari’s arrest is just the tip of the iceberg, as they suspect this might turn out to be an international racket. The cops suspect there are many more working for the mastermind like Ansari, who might be located all over the city or the country.

“All the communication in the network has been done through Internet calling. At present it is difficult to ascertain the exact location of the mastermind. Unless Ansari is interrogated in detail, it will be difficult to establish the size of the syndicate. We also have to find the details of the ragpickers and the pickpockets in the case,” said an officer from Dadar police station.

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