The city police find it difficult to trace kingpins behind credit card rackets, let alone recover the lost money

The arrest of two Nigerians a few days ago on charge of using cloned credit cards looked like a routine fraud committed employing a known modus operandi. Investigators, however, eventually found that organised gangs with international connections were orchestrating such offences from Mumbai and Delhi.

The prolonged probe, first by the Commissioner's Task Force and then by the Mahankali police, once again proved that catching the persons behind the crimes involving Nigerians is a challenging task. The accused are always employing a new trick to take gullible people for a ride and operating in ‘cut off mode' leaving no leads for the police to pursue the cases.

Cloning of credit cards and their usage is not unheard of. But, the racket busted with the arrest of two Nigerians brought to fore that international gangs are cleverly using cloned credit cards through Nigerians residing in India. The kingpins identify Nigerians residing in different metros of the country or send them to India on visiting or student visas.

Credit cards -mostly belonging to people living in Western countries- are cloned in different methods like using skimmers at hotels, shops and petrol bunks. The gangs adopted a new strategy of using Nigerians in India to use such cards. Their agents here purchase gold jewellery or high-cost electronic gadgets using such duplicate cards and make money by selling the articles online.

“Fortunately, the gangs have not yet started cloning credit cards issued by Indian banks here. If not nipped in the bud, it is possible they begin targeting Indian credit card holders as well,” investigators apprehend. This would be a threat to credit card users here and a new challenge to the police. Unlike in cases of thefts and burglaries, police could not recover money misappropriated by the frauds committed by Nigerians.

The money they make is transferred to the original operators in Nigeria online. The police could not trace the main persons behind the rackets, let alone recover the lost money. Not revealing original names and evading questions on who and where the masterminds of the rackets are is the style adopted by Nigerians involved in such cases.

“A good number of them don't even posses valid documents. They are prepared to languish in prison for some time but never tell us about the documents,” the police say. Leaders of such gangs monitoring operations from Mumbai and Delhi ‘disappear' on learning about the arrest of their associates in Hyderabad or other places. After some time, the gangs are engaging new persons to carry out their ‘operations'.

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