Chennai Police:Criminal to train cops on card cloning

Criminal to train cops on card cloning

Agrees To Help Police Break Racket

A Selvaraj TNN

Chennai: What do you do with a credit card cloning criminal? The Chennai police have decided to use him to crack a series of cases of credit card fraud. Umesh Balaravindan alias Shorty, who was recently arrested from the city, has agreed to help the police break a racket in the country that clones cards and withdraws money from many people’s accounts.
The police have obviously realised that their knowledge of computers and the techniques used by Shorty was limited and that they could take a lesson or two from the criminal. A source said Umesh’s interrogators were all ears when he spoke about the urgent need to develop the skills of bank officials to compete with credit card fraudsters who were abreast of the latest techniques of cheating.

       Umesh and his gang members have been accused of withdrawing money using at least 64 cloned credit cards and debit cards of victims. Earlier, it was believed that the gang installed afilm-thin skimmer at an ATM in Kilpauk to copy data from customers’ cards. Later, Umesh told the police that he had bought the data through a website. Police raided his house in Kovilambakkam near Porur immediately after his arrest and recovered a skimmer, an encoding machine, an engraving machine and fake cards.

        A police officer said Umesh agreed to teach the police the loopholes in the system which he and other fraudsters exploit. The city police had taken Umesh, who was in Puzhal jail, into their custody from October 12 to 14 for further questioning. “It was during this session that he volunteered to help us,” said the officer. “He promised to help us nail down other criminals operating in Chennai and other places in the country. He says there are many such gangs operating in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore,” an offcier said.

     Umesh has apparently made some plain talk. “He said bank officials have very little knowledge about credit card scams. By the time banks put in place security systems, the fraudsters would have gone further. We will utilize him to prevent future frauds and maybe crack a few cases,” the officer said.

         Umesh was arrested by the central crime branch for withdrawing Rs 32 lakh using credit cards of 64 persons. After two days of police custody, he was sent back to jail on Friday.

SWITCHING SIDES: Umesh Balaravindan (3rd from left) will teach the police the loopholes in the system

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