Sleuths from the Ulhasnagar Crime Branch arrested two persons and recovered 597 credit and debits cards from their possession. The duo used to fit CCTV cameras and skimmers at various ATM kiosks to retrieve personal data of people visiting these centres, and then use it for shopping.
Hitesh Gerela (20) and Kamlesh Ashoklal Lalsinghani (22), both residents of Ulhasnagar, were arrested after the Crime Branch received a tip off that a person was about to purchase electronic items at a popular electronics showroom in the area, using a fake credit card.
“We arranged a trap and arrested Hitesh and recovered a fake credit card from him,” said Machindra Chavan, senior police inspector of Ulhasnagar crime branch. A thorough investigation led the sleuths to Kamlesh, from whom they recovered around 597 credit and debit cards. “We are now searching for one Fizi Altaf Raza, who is the main accused in the scam,” said Milind Bharambe, ACP, Thane crime branch.
The accused had tied up with some Nigerians, from whom they used to get magnetic stripe data to make duplicate credit cards. For debit card data, the suspects used to fix a skimmer unit on the door of the ATMs, then enter the centres and install CCTV cameras. The duo singled out ATM entrances that matched the colour of the skimmer units in their possession, in order to avoid detection.
“Once they had the details of a customer, they would make a fake debit card and withdraw money from the victim’s account,” Bharambe said.
The police have learnt that till now, they used around 420 debit and credit cards and purchased various goods, which they later sold for less than the actual value. “We have recovered an embossing machine, scanner, printer, laptop, ATM card reader and writer machine. Kamlesh is a computer hardware engineer and used his expertise to make fake debit and credit cards,” Chavan said.