Friday, April 8, 2016

84 credit card frauds reported so far this year in Mumbai

MUMBAI: In the past two months, 84 credit card frauds have been reported in the city, reveals the latest Mumbai police report. Cyber experts say this number is just the tip of the iceberg as less than 2% of cases get reported, and that too by customers. Very few corporates and banks come forward to lodge complaints, fearing for their reputation.

Reluctance on the part of financial institutions to provide fraud-related information hampers investigation, say cyber police. Cyber lawyer Vicky Shah said while almost all frauds get reported, only those involving high amounts are converted into FIRs. There is no restriction on the amount, though, and FIRs can be be filed even for small sums. "Many a times, card-issuers also reverse a disputed amount to a card-holder's account as there is a provision to recover the sum from the merchant through Visa or MasterCard in case of fraudulent use," said an official with a large private bank.

In 2015, on an average, 26 card fraud cases were registered every month. Between 2012 and February 2016, a total of 627 cases were filed and 92 fraudsters nabbed (see box).


Experts and cops have zeroed in on eight different types of modus operandi that fraudsters employ to steal card information. A new trick, for instance, involves procuring card details from customers by claiming to call on behalf of the issuer and offering a card upgrade. Experts say even chip cards can be misused. "In 2015, `shimming' of chip cards to retrieve customer details took off in foreign countries. While it has not yet begun in India, security measures should be studied to tackle it," cyber lawyer Vicky Shah told TOI.

Additional commissioner of police (crime) K M M Prasanna said the current lot of cyber officers are upgrading themselves to tackle fraudsters. "We promptly register complaints and have also asked corporates to come forward to lodge them. In the coming years, we will get more tech-savvy officers who will boost the team.The officers are aware and studying all these modus operandi so that they get to the root of how fraudsters operate," he said.

Rukmani Krishnamurthy, former director, Forensic Science Laboratories, said such frauds can be controlled by generating awareness. Digital forensic investigation can glean evidence from skimmers, email source code verification, network monitoring, application testing and website verification. "Online banking frauds require a rapid and competent response. Immediate filing of a complaint and action by the cyber cell and banking security experts, independent criminologists and law enforcement department will prevent theft, help reclaim funds, and identify and apprehend criminals. Any delay will seriously hinder the investigative process and cause irreversible loss of funds. In online banking fraud cases, cyber cops and digital forensic investigators work together," said Krishnamurthy. IT expert Vijay Mukhi said financial institutions are doing little to stop credit card theft. "The world insists that you use chip and pin cards; in India, this rule is not followed by all banks."

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