Fake credit card racket busted

Two Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested by the City Central Division Police after they busted a fake credit card racket.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) B R Ravikanthe Gowda, though there was no formal complaint, they had been tracking the activity for the past couple of years and following a tip-off by a source, arrested the duo.

Mahendar Karunaraj, 50, a resident of Marathalli in Bangalore, and Ashwin Kumar, 30, a resident of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, had prepared fake credit cards of various individuals with accounts in national and international banks, and were leading a luxurious lifestyle.

The accused had used the cards in Chennai and Bangalore and bought many home appliances and other goods from showrooms, which they then sold to members of the public, hawking them on street. “The two had spent close to around Rs 10 lakh using the credit cards,” police said.

Karunaraj is said to be the kingpin. A Sri Lankan national, he had been arrested by Sri Lankan police several  years ago in connection with a fake credit card scam. Following his release, he started a textile and onion business which went bust. He subsequently moved to India, where he  started the fake credit card ring.

Ashwin Kumar had come to Tamil Nadu as a Sri Lankan refugee many years ago and had settled in Madurai.

Karunaraj sought the help of two  friends – one in France and another in Kerala – to prepare fake credit cards. Karunaraj’s childhood friend in France would hack and collect data of various bank accounts of both Indian and international banks and send the data via e-mail to Karunaraj.

Another friend in Kerala would supply empty plastic cards, an encoder and embossing machines used to write data on these cards, buying them from Malaysia.

The police said they used to connect the encoder machine to their laptop, print names and 16-digit numbers on the cards with the encoder machine. They had also access to software that banks use to prepare credit cards.

The gang was nabbed after they were spotted on CC TV footage at a shop in Chennai using the fake credit card to make purchase. Fifty fake credit cards, two laptops, an encoder and an embossing machine have been confiscated by police.

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