Detectives of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police on Wednesday arrested two persons on charges of stealing debit card data and later selling the data to a Sri Lankan national who apparently misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh.
Police said Manager of HDFC Bank’s Nelson Manikkam Road Branch, Gopinath Rajkumar, lodged a complaint with the City police commissioner a couple of months back stating that the debit card data of the bank’s customers were being compromised after they swiped their cards at an Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machine installed facility at ‘Pasta Bar Veneto’, an Italian Restaurant, in Alsa Mall.Pursuing the complaint, a case was registered under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, and 471 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Police with the help of the victims and information on the time of swipe identified the bearer who served on that table and took the debit cards to swipe.
During interrogation, the bearer, identified as Santhosh (20), confessed to have stolen the data with the help of a ‘skimmer’ device supplied to him by his erstwhile colleague Karthik Ramalingam (32), at Pitstop, another eatery on East Coast Road. Santhosh would accept the debit/credit card of the customer and secretly swipe it in the ‘skimmer’ unit that would copy all the data required for successful future transactions.
The data would be sent to a receiver, an acquaintance of Karthik Ramalingam, in Sri Lanka. They would make duplicate cards with the stolen data which they would use to withdraw money without the knowledge of the actual account holder.
Both Santhosh and Karthik Ramalingam were arrested and remanded to judicial custody on Wednesday after they confessed to have committed the offence.
With the stolen data, the receiver in Sri Lanka was able to swindle money to the tune of Rs 10 lakh from the customers of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Citi Bank while the duo was given a cut from that money. Efforts were on to arrest the Lankan source and to identify the origin of skimmer.
The investigations were led by ACP A John Rose and Inspector Vijayakumar of CCB-Bank Fraud Unit.