Watch out! Waiters waiting to steal your card PIN, data

With growing complaints about cyber crime - especially phishing and vishing - the police have also stepped up their campaign against data theft.

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By Nithin Belle

Published: Mon 21 Dec 2015, 5:11 PM

Mumbai: When a Mumbai-based executive working for a production house presented his debit card for making a payment of Rs1,700 at a Lucknow restaurant recently, he never imagined that his bank account would over the next few hours be debited of Rs70,000.
After the waiter handed over the portable card reader to R. Faiz, the producer, to enter his personal identification number (PIN), he quickly noted the number. The card reader was also equipped with a skimmer, which copied all the data from the magnetic chip of the debit card.
The waiter, part of a gang of cyber criminals, would pass off this data along with the PIN to associates in Bengaluru, who would then withdraw money from the producer's - and other customers' - bank accounts. In this case, the producer complained to the cyber cell of Lucknow police, who nabbed a few waiters at the restaurant and also recovered the skimmers. But the masterminds behind the crime are at large in Bengaluru.
Another Mumbai resident, A. Tyagi, lost more than Rs70,000 when a criminal, also from Mumbai, used three fake credit cards issued in Tyagi's name to buy smartphones and a car charger from a shop in Pimpri-Chinchwad last week.
According to the police, Vishwajeet Chhatri, the alleged trickster, had stolen data relating to several customers from different banks. He would use this data to clone credit cards and even identity documents such as driving licences.
After he bought the smartphones at the Pimpri-Chinchwad store - about 150km from Mumbai - Tyagi got an SMS from the bank informing him about the transaction. He immediately called up the bank, which alerted the shopkeeper. Securitymen then held Chhatri till the police came and arrested him. They found 15 fake debit and credit cards with him.
With growing complaints about cyber crime - especially phishing and vishing - the police have also stepped up their campaign against data theft. Mumbai's outgoing police commissioner Ahmed Javed held a meeting with top executives of 20 banks recently to discuss security measures and to enhance cooperation with the police.
Last week, the Thane crime branch arrested half a dozen waiters from posh eateries in Mumbai and Thane. They were all provided skimmers by a gang; the waiters would copy the data from the magnetic chips of cards given by their customers. They would also note down the PIN entered by the customers and pass on the data to their associates.
The waiters would get a commission of about 20 per cent. They had in recent weeks defrauded several customers to the tune of Rs3 million, according to the police.
The Mumbai Police have also launched an awareness campaign, putting up posters and screening short films, warning consumers not to share their personal data and to be alert while handing over their credit and debit cards. It has tied up with the State Bank of India to promote the cyber safety campaign.
According to official statistics, nearly 750 cases of cyber crime were registered in Mumbai during the first 11 months of 2015, a huge increase over the previous years' figures. In 2012, just 62 cases had been recorded; this went up to 169 in 2013 and 524 in 2014.

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