Tuesday February 26, 2013
International bank card fraud racket smashed
By FARIK ZOLKEPLI and AUSTIN CAMOENS
KUALA LUMPUR: Police have busted an international syndicate specialising in credit and ATM card fraud, which has been raking in about RM1mil in ill-gotten gains since last August.
Twenty-five syndicate members, including nine Canadians and 11 Sri Lankans, were nabbed in a series of raids around the city from Wednesday. Four Malaysians, aged between 23 and 54, were also detained.
Under the syndicate's modus operandi, blank cards were couriered into the country and picked up by the members, who would then encode the bank's information with a magnetic strip encoder device.
The members, who entered the country as tourists, would then carry out their illegal transactions for about three months before leaving, having pocketed some 10% as “fees”.
Their places would then be taken over by others.
Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said that using a card, members withdrew up to a maximum of RM1,500 from an ATM before destroying the card.
“The credit and ATM cards were mainly from Canadian and American banks. We are still looking for the mastermind, who we believe is still in Malaysia,” he said at the CCID headquarters here yesterday.
Initial investigations, said Comm Syed Ismail, showed that each syndicate member would get some 10% of the amount withdrawn on each card.
“The syndicate targeted banks which have the Globally-linked Foreign Account Holders' criterion.”
During the raids, police also seized 533 credit and ATM cards from various countries, RM74,7703 in cash as well as an array of equipment, including three laptops, an iPad and two magnetic strip encoder devices.
“Police are working with Interpol on this case. We believe the mastermind may have links with other syndicates overseas.
“We believe they have the capability to withdraw some RM20,000 daily,” Comm Syed Ismail said.