Police suspect involvement of company employees
Having accessed the data of over 30,000 credit card holders of ICICI Bank, a 32-year-old man used the information to make transactions.
The police said the accused, Raju Tevar, used the account details of the bank customers to make payments of electricity or telephone bills of unknown people through them. In order to make profits from such deals, he used to approach collection agents of such bills and offered them discounts on the bill amounts.
“Posing as a representative of the electricity or telephone company concerned, Raju used to take cash from these agents but made the bill payments through the credit cards, whose information he had gathered. In this way he had carried out many transactions and managed to accumulate huge amounts of cash,” said a police officer.
On how Tevar had managed to obtain the secured credit card details of the holders, the officer said he had basic information such as contact details of these account holders using which he made calls to them posing as a representative of the bank. He would then inform them that online transactions had been fraudulently made through their credit cards. As the customers would panic, he would seek classified information such as security numbers on the pretext of blocking the card and getting them a refund. After receiving a complaint from journalist Abhaya Srivastava from whose card close to Rs.45,000 was spent after she shared the details, a case was registered at Connaught Place police station. Ms. Srivastava also provided the police, the number from which she received the call.
During investigations, the police found that the amount spent from the credit card was used to pay electricity bills to Maharashtra State Electricity Board and to PayTM, a company which facilitates payment of bills online and through mobiles.
“A police team sent to Mumbai found that one Tevar collected the telephone bills representing himself as the company’s agent to a shopkeeper of the Ambarnath area who used to collect the bills of the local residents for small service charges. Tevar offered a discount of five to 10 per cent to the shopkeeper and had not disclosed his address. The phone number, which was used to make these transactions, was of Surat in Gujarat,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) S.B.S. Tyagi.
Mr. Tyagi said that after two months Tevar again made some transactions and this time the number was traced to Palghar, a densely populated slum cluster near Thane. However, sensing police presence, Tevar stopped coming to Ambarnath and the next breakthrough came when his pictures were found through Facebook. As Tevar’s identity was established, the police zeroed in on the area he frequented and conducted a raid, which led to the arrest.
A laptop which was seized from Tevar and data of 30,000 credit card holders was found in it. The police have asked ICICI Bank to ascertain the total amount of loss caused to it from the complaints received from the card holders.
During interrogation, Tevar purportedly revealed that he had stolen the data from the laptop of one Zakir, who also cheated credit card holders in the same way. “There is a strong possibility of the involvement of employees of the ICICI Bank in this credit card fraud. The accused had disclosed that he has been making the internet transactions for the last one year,” said Mr. Tyagi.