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3 Romanians caught in credit card scam

2015-02-11 09:12 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

Shanghai police have detained three Romanians who used fake bank cards to withdraw 200,000 yuan (US$30,000) from ATM machines in the city.

The suspects had flown into the city separately from Russia and Malaysia and were caught on February 3.

Police got into the act after five banks reported in January that "a large number" of blank bank cards — those with just a black magnetic strip with no other details of the card holder — were swallowed by ATM machines in Xuhui and Huangpu districts.

Police tracked them down from surveillance cameras and seized more than 100 blank cards, information of over 200 illegal cards and card readers from them. Some of the illegal cash was also recovered. The trio operated at nights to avoid detection.

Police said it was not rare for swindlers to cash in with illegal bank cards during the Chinese New Year because transactions at the ATM machines are the highest at that time of the year. They also tend to target machines in downtown areas which have more cash.

Police said attempts to cheat with illegal foreign cards at ATM or POS (point of sale) machines in China have low success rates because either the stolen informations are problematic or expired. But criminals continue with their activities because they believe that cardholders outside China usually don't report to police because they are covered by insurance companies.

Elsewhere in the city, a gang of six using fake POS machines to steal credit card information was also busted.

The Chinese gang would implant chips, antennas and key logger sheets inside the POS machines and copied credit card data, police said. Most of them acted as courier guys and insisted that consumers use their cards to pay for the parcels. It was not known how much they had profited from the scam.

Two of the suspects, a man surnamed Zong and another surnamed Lei, worked with an online shopping website. Zong and Lei paid from their own pockets to the website to cover up the scam.

The other four suspects are surnamed Zhang, Zhu, Xue and Hu. The POS machines were procured in Wenzhou city in Zhejiang Province. They are issued by banks or by third-party companies licensed by the China's central bank.

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