Over 15 customers at a restaurant in the city, paying their bills through bank cards, have been the victims of a credit card fraud.
The card data of the customers who dined at a restaurant in a mall in Egmore were stolen and over Rs. 10 lakh was siphoned. Police have arrested two persons, including a waiter, and a hunt is on for the rest of the gang.
Sources with the bank fraud wing of the Central Crime Branch said the waiter Santhosh (20), a native of Tirupattur, was working at The Pasta Bar Veneto restaurant in Alsa Mall. His accomplice, Karthik Ramalingam (32) of Ayapakkam, who he had got to know when the two men were working at a restaurant on ECR, gave him a skimmer device in July to fraudulently copy the data on cards of customers dining at the restaurant.
“Using the skimmer, Santhosh started copying the data on cards given by customers for billing. Karthik would come to the mall once in four days and transfer the stolen data on to his laptop. For each transfer, he paid Santhosh a large amount,” said Inspector K. Vijayakumar, the investigating officer in the case.
In mid-October, HDFC, Citibank and ICICI bank authorities started receiving complaints from customers that their cards were being swiped for large amounts in hotels and shopping malls in Sri Lanka, even while the cards were in their possession. The bank authorities then approached the bank fraud wing.
A. John Rose, assistant commissioner of the bank fraud wing, who led the investigation zeroed-in on The Pasta Bar Veneto as the place that all the victims had visited.
“Santhosh was arrested on Wednesday morning and he led us to Karthik,” Mr. John said.
Karthik revealed that he had sent the stolen card data to the members of the gang who, located in other countries, are suspected to have made duplicate cards for making the purchases in Sri Lanka. A thorough probe is under way to track down the rest of the gang, the officer added.
Last year, a gang struck at a restaurant in Velachery, using a similar modus operandi, and siphoned lakhs of rupees.