Bengaluruâ€™s Central Crime Branch on Saturday arrested three men, including a Sri Lankan national, for allegedly stealing money mainly from foreign nationals, by cloning their debit and credit cards.
According to police, the prime accused, 30-year-old Divyan, had been staying illegally in India for close to 10 years.
He had been absconding for the past eight years and was also wanted for two online frauds in Chennai.
He had been out on bail and remained untraceable all this while.
Divyan also had the aliases, Dinesh and Pulikeshi, to evade arrest, a police officer told Deccan Herald.
The other two arrested are residents of Bengaluru. They have been identified as Nawaz Sherrief (22) and Nadeem Sherrief (30). The police also believe that more people might be involved in the scam.
Police seized 270 cards without a magnetic tape, 114 duplicate cards, 36 card swiping machines, 16 fake driving licences, card reader and lamination machines, from the accused.
The trio procured stolen card data from the Dark Web and created cloned cards using the details. They would then use the cloned cards at POS (point of sale) terminals, often without any purchase, in exchange for a commission on the credited amount.
Some of these POS terminals were owned by businesses run by the accusedâ€™s relatives and even some bank officials are suspected to be part of the racket.
Although the three managed to avoid scrutiny through mostly low value transactions, they bought three TVs for Rs 1.10 lakh from a city showroom, using one such cloned card on June 21.
But incidentally, the cloned card happened to be that of a Bengaluru user who contacted his bank and cancelled the transaction, after receiving an SMS alert on the same.
The showroom owner complained to the City Cyber Crime Branch after the money did not reflect in his account.
Police traced the three to their Jalahalli apartment, by tracking the phone number given by them, while ordering the TV sets.
"The main accused, Divyan, had come to India illegally about a decade ago and was staying in Chennai. He is also wanted by the Chennai police. The three were caught after they tried to cheat the owner of Vishnu Priya International, an electronics store in Doddakallasandra. The gang had bought three LED TVs on June 21 for a price of Rs 1.10 lakh using the fake credit cards. As the money was not credited into the ownerâ€™s account, he had filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime Police on Friday,â€ť a police officer was quoted as saying, by the Bangalore Mirror.
â€śThey were getting their swiping card machines from agents in Haryana, Mumbai, Puducherry and other parts of the country and were paying a commission to the agents. Nadeem is wanted by Cottonpet, Upparpet and by the Mumbai police for similar offences. The CCB police suspect that there are more people involved in the racket,â€ť the officer added.