Mumbai Crime: Card skimming gang loot lakhs from BKC cafe's customers

Jul 03, 2018, 17:02 IST | Hajra Bi

The Kherwadi police have arrested one current employee and two former employees of the Elementaria Bakery and Cafe for misusing credit and debit card details of their customers

Mumbai Crime: Card skimming gang loot lakhs from BKC cafe's customers
The data of several customers of Elementaria Cafe and Bakery in BKC has been compromised. Pic/Nimesh Dave

While they were serving coffee to customers on the one hand, employees of a BKC-based bakery and cafe were brewing up a crime on the other. The Kherwadi police have arrested one current employee and two former employees of the Elementaria Bakery and Cafe for misusing credit and debit card details of their customers. In all, the arrested accused allegedly stole around R10 lakh from accounts of 35 customers of various cafes across the city.

This con opened up around a month ago, when the intelligence department of a private bank contacted the cyber crime inspector Sunil Yadav of Kherwadi police station, to alert them about how card details of several customers had been compromised at Elementaria.

(From left) Akram Shaikh, Rahul Yadav, Sarfaraz Shaikh, Altaf Shaikh and Faiz Choudhry
(From left) Akram Shaikh, Rahul Yadav, Sarfaraz Shaikh, Altaf Shaikh and Faiz Choudhry

The input indicated that the customer data was being leaked from the establishment, that was also informed of the same. But Elementaria could not identify the culprit. Cops then contacted the bakery again, after which a probe began and an FIR was registered on June 24.

Sending pins on WhatsApp
A detailed interrogation and mobile scanning of the eatery's staff led the cops to Altaf Shaikh, 23, who works as a waiter there. His WhatsApp chats revealed that he'd sent customers' debit and credit cards last four digits and the pin to an accomplice. Cops thoroughly interrogated him and reached Rahul Yadav, 23, and Sarfaraz Shaikh, 25, who'd previously worked at Elementaria.

Sarfaraz would share the data received by them to one Faiz Choudhry, 28, and Akram Shaikh, 23. Cops nabbed Faiz and Akram from their homes in Jogeshwari east. Cops arrested those two and the other three on June 25. Their modus operandi was to first steal card data using skimmers and remember customers' pins. They would later share these with Sarfaraz, who passed it along to Faiz and Akram separately and charge them Rs 5,000 per customer. Sarfaraz would proceed to pass on the spoils to Rahul and Altaf. Cops have seized seven portable magnetic strip card readers [pocket skimmers], one MSR X6 data reader/writer machine, two laptops and various debit and credit cards.

Gang ties
Further investigation has revealed that Akram and Faiz had worked for a gang, who were the ultimate receivers of the data. Akram also shared the data from a cloth shop he'd worked at for three years, whereas Faiz would share data from different cafes he worked at.

An officer added that so far, probe has revealed that about accounts of 35 customers have been compromised and more than R10 lakh stolen using cloned cards. API Sachin Suryawanshi said, "We have alerted our contacts in Coimbatore and are in search of the person who had provided skimmers and software to these accused. Senior police inspector of Kherwadi police Rajendra Patil said, "We're trying to identify and nab other members involved in this and any other gang working with them."

Also read: Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri conned of Rs 6 lakh in credit card fraud

Cafe says
Yash Modi, co-owner of Elementaria told mid-day, "As soon we realised that customer data was getting leaked, we took help of cops. It was shocking to learn that our employee was involved in the scam, but he has now been arrested. Although we had checked his documents [before hiring him], we never realised he could turn out to be an accused; this was his first crime."

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