Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: An international credit card fraud, involving cloning of cards and using them for purchases and withdrawal of money from bank accounts, was busted by police with the arrest of three men in Hyderabad on Monday. One of the arrested men is a Bangalorean.

The task force team, which conducts routine checks on city lodges, arrested the men identified as Rajendra Laxman Swamy Bagal, of Nasik in Maharashtra, Subramanyam Harish of Rajajinagar in Bangalore and Yerramshetty Nagaraj, of Chennai, from a lodge in Nampally, Task Force DCP V.B. Kamalasan Reddy, who led the raid said.

The kingpin of the racket, identified as Balakrishnan of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and his two accomplices are absconding.

The police seized 85 cloned credit cards issued in different countries, including the U.S., U.K. and south-east Asian countries, a skimmer used for reading and writing credit card data, a laptop, fabricated identity proofs, photographs, nine mobile phones, and a car. Police said the gang had struck deals with a few business establishments for payment of money after swiping the cards. The businessman would get a 10 per cent commission on the swiped amount. They had so far swiped cards to the tune of Rs. 1.5 lakh.

Explaining the modus operandi, Mr. Reddy said a net-savvy Balakrishnan would get the credit card details, including the 14-digit bar code, from his contacts in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, and other south-east Asian countries. He would also procure blank credit cards and later paste logos and other details on them. He would then transfer the credit card details onto the cards using the skimmer.