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24 September 2008

Cyber criminals zero in on airlines

Stolen credit card numbers have been used by a Mumbai-Bangalore gang to book online tickets on Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Air Deccan. These have been sold at discounted rates to other customers.

When you book online, you’re required to give the credit card number, validity period and the last three digit numbers provided on the reverse of the card (PIN).

Ajay Patel randomly used 50 ICICI credit card numbers by changing the last two digits and in place of the PIN, he used another code to book the tickets.

His Bangalore counterparts used cybercafes to take the printouts of tickets and sold them at discounted rates till they were arrested by the Bangalore cyber crime cell.

The fraud came to light when ICICI Bank monitored online credit of purchases of Kingfisher Airlines and noticed an unusual pattern in one credit card user.

When the bank contacted him, he was unaware of these ticket purchases worth Rs 42,000. Online banking too has not been without complaints.

A Citibank account holder lodged a complaint that Rs 1,00,500 had been transferred from his account to another. After investigation, the perpetrators have been arrested.

They are on bail and the hard disks seized have been sent for analysis. After receiving the report, a chargesheet will be filed. Yet another interesting case has come to light.Two US nationals came to Bangalore to set up a call centre which operates in illegal pornography sites. They got credit card details of over 1.5 million users in the US and used this to siphon off money through another site.

Modus operandi: Daniel Pena and Bill Smith have websites from which you can download MP3 files. These have sublinks to four porn sites which are paid sites.

When users of these websites pay to access these illegal sites, the credit card details are misused to access similar websites of their own creation which automatically debit money from them without their knowledge.

Pena and Smith had also asked their Indian company, Customer Connect, to service their toll-free number which had been set up to divert the grievances of their fraudulent websites in the US.

Otherwise, complaints would have been registered with banks which wouldhave immediately cancelled the e-commerce facility.

Enquiries have come in from the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI and other anti-fraud agencies from the US to check out the whereabouts of Bill Smith.

An Indian software engineer, who had been caught unknowingly in this scam, has filed an FIR; the case is under investigation. S Mahapatra, IGP, Economic Offences, (CoD) said the number of cases and enquiries areincreasing.

"Unlike before when banks and other organisations would not come forward to lodge complaints, now FIRs are being filed and we are using technology experts to help us investigate such cases," he said.

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Cyber Crime Branch Advisory
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Important Links
Cyber Crime Investigation Cell
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