Mumbai: Hotel manager among 4 held for stealing customers’ card data

The Mumbai Crime Branch Unit 9 arrested a gang of four for allegedly duping people after stealing their card details. The accused include the manager of a Powai-based hotel who used to steal customers’ data and sell it to the mastermind of the gang.

So far, 20 people have been duped by the gang and it is feared that their number could be much higher as this was going on since the last six months, said police.

The fraud came to light recently when officials of a nationalised bank approached the crime branch and complained about several customers being duped by online fraudsters even though they did not share their card details or Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone. The bank official further said that they have found a common link and most of the victims visited a hotel in Powai.

The crime branch official raided the hotel but the owner of the hotel said that he has no role in it and said that he suspect his previous manager Yashwant Gupta, 23, alias Sonu who was recently sacked after his waiter alerted about the malpractices. The crime branch officials waited there after learning that Gupta was frequently seen in the vicinity and nabbed him as soon as he arrived.

"During the manager's investigation, it was revealed that he generally asks his waiters to bring customers cards and secretly copy its data with a skimmer device. Later he personally visits the table with the ATM machine and remembers the PIN number as customers entered. He later sold the data along with PIN number for Rs 500 per card to the mastermind of the gang, said Nandakumar Gopale, senior inspector of crime branch unit 9.

During the course of investigation, the crime branch arrested three more identified as Mohammad Faiz Choudhary, 27, Azaruddin Ansari, 23 and Ishtiaq Jamal Khan, 22. According to the police, Choudhary was previously arrested three times in similar cases. He used to procure data from Gupta, imprints it on another card and hands it over to the other two. The two then go to Pune and Satara to withdraw money and generally withdraw cash a day before public holiday to avoid suspicion, said police.

According to the police Gupta was selling the data from the last six months and suspected to have sold data of hundreds of people.

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