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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2680

Criminals invent better fraud methods to clone credit cards to help LTTE steal monies

By Walter Jayawardhana

London, 17 August, ( Last week, a British criminal court has convicted an agent of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for cloning 500 credit cards at a gasoline filling station. A special unit of the police raided a factory that produces chips that will be inserted into card reading machines as a mole, better suited for the crime than the pin hole cameras used earlier.

A week ago Abdul Samad Mohamed Raik, a non-Tamil was convicted by the criminal court of Leicestershire for helping the LTTE to steal British Pounds 175,000 from ATM machines all over the world. Barely a single household on Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire escaped the Tamil Tiger scam.

Two other Muslim men, Ibrar Hussain and Mohamed Mahmood were arrested when Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime unit of the Metropolitan Police of London raided at Birmingham a “sophisticated counterfeit card factory” as described by the police. Police said so far they do not know whether the two men arrested are connected to a terrorist organization.

In this method, unlike in the earlier method of recording the credit card and pin numbers with a pin hole camera like device while a customer buys merchandise at a filling station or a shop, the criminals would remove the card reading device , insert a mole inside and replace it at original places.

The police said the devices they install inside the card reading machines are so high-tech that they could transmit the card numbers and the related pin numbers to a mobile phone.

Cards are then cloned and used abroad in countries including USA, Italy, and Australia. In most countries, like in Britain, they do not even need numbers to withdraw money using credit or debit cards.

A raid on houses, police found stolen chip and pin terminals, card account numbers, card readers and counterfeit magnetic strip cards.

The criminals either by getting employment at filling station, shops etc stole card reading machines, installed the ‘moles’ inside and put them back at their original places. The police said they removed the machines by intimidation or bribes to the staff. In other cases, they have posed as engineers and removed the machine for an “upgrade”.

The arrested two were produced before criminal court, and the case would come up for hearing in October.

In Britain, to cut credit or debit card fraud a chip and a pin were newly introduced in 2006. But the new system did not totally succeed when criminals like the LTTE activists in London started scanning the cards and the pin numbers using pinhole camera like devices.

But in the case of Abdul Samad Mohamed Raik , an LTTE agent who confessed that he was blackmailed due to a loan given by the terrorist group to do the job, during the investigation was found using the pinhole like devices in close circuit television (CCTV) footage. But when cards are being spied on by the new doctored machines the criminals will not be close by to be noticed by any security devices.

Specialist officers from the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime said, card machines from 30 shops, supermarkets and gasoline filling stations across the country have been stolen.

The police raided the Birmingham factory after complaints from the public that their card reading devices had been stolen.

Detective Chief Inspector John Folan said, “We are sending a very clear warning to fraudsters that these crimes will not be tolerated and we will continue to target them and disrupt their fraudulent activity.”

- Asian Tribune -

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