Nation Crime 16 May 2018 Two Romanians held f ...

Two Romanians held for debit card fraud

Published May 16, 2018, 3:41 am IST
Updated May 16, 2018, 3:43 am IST
Vasile Gabriel Razvan and  Buricea Alexandru Mihai
 Vasile Gabriel Razvan and Buricea Alexandru Mihai

Hyderabad: Cyberabad Cyber Crime sleuths bust a major debit card cloning racket involving four foreign nationals from Romania and arrested two of them on Tuesday. 

The gang targeted unguarded offsite ATM booths (located away from bank premises) and installed skimmers and camera panels. Using these, they collected customer data and cloned the ATM cards. 

Using such cards and data collected from ATM booths at Hyderabad and Delhi, they withdrew money from ATM booths in Mumbai, said Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar. 

The gang cloned more than 2,400 debit cards from Hyderabad and Delhi, targeting ATM booths of Axis Bank HDFC Bank, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India.

Acting on a complaint from city resident Anil Bhargava, who lost Rs 1 lakh from his account, Cyberabad Cyber Crime team cracked the racket. 

One of the gang members would install the skimmers and camera panels in the machine and collect them the next day to avoid any attention from bank officials. During this time, the devices would capture the details of each customer who accessed their accounts at that particular ATM.

“They later used shopping gift cards and cloned them with the data stolen at various ATMs and withdrew money from ATM machines in Mumbai," said the official.

Vasile Gabriel Razvan, 37, a carpenter, has been identified as the mastermind in the racket and identified the cities where the fraud would be committed. Buricea Alexandru Mihai, 22, a student; Ticu Bogdan Costinel, 38, a truck driver, and Puica Eugan Marian, 35, are the other members complicit in the fraud. Vasile and Buricea have been arrested, while Ticu and Puica are absconding. 

Vasile and Buricea came to Hyderabad in December 2017 and identified unguarded ATM centres. They then fixed the ATM card skimmers and camera panels in ATM centres located in Delhi in January 2018 and later withdrew Rs 9.5 lakh from Mumbai, using cloned cards. After success at Delhi, their associates Ticu and Puica came to Hyderabad in February and repeated the process of fixing the devices at ATMs. After collecting the data from the cards, they shared it with the other two members and flew back in April. Vasile and Buricea then went to Mumbai with all the cloned cards and withdrew Rs 35 lakh from different ATMs in the suburbs of Goregaon and Malad. 

According to the police the suspects landed in India four months ago with the intention of making easy money by looting from bank accounts through cloned ATMs. 

Vasile arranged for the passports and business visas of the other accused after they agreed to help him with the fraud. Police recovered from their possession Rs 35 lakh, 196 skimmed cards, six camera panels, seven mobile phones, 2 passports along with other equipment used by the gang to commit the fraud. 

Accused had history in Europe too
Cyberabad police said they will initiate the process to issue a look-out notice for the two gang members who are absconding after looting people from different cities to the tune of Rs 35 lakh by cloning debit cards

“We will issue a look-out circular and will contact the Romanian embassy to help us nab the two absconding members (Ticu Costinel and Puica Marian) of the gang,” said an investigating officer.

The group came to India with the intention to make easy money by cloning debit cards, which they claimed was a common form of fraud in their home country of Romania and other European countries like Bulgaria. 

Police say Vasile Gabriel knew about the technique of card cloning and took advantage of the systemic loopholes of the banks. Some 30 banks were targeted by the gang. 

Cyberabad police is planning to hold meetings with banks to alert them about the loopholes and work out a security plan to prevent future frauds. 

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad


More From Crime