The National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has unearthed an international racket involved in using counterfeit credit cards in Pakistan and abroad for bulk shopping, sources told The Express Tribune.
The accused purchased stolen data of credit cards from an international website for $10 to $90 per card and shifted the data on magnetic strips of blank credit cards through using equipment bought from Bangkok, sources said.
The NR3C has arrested five accused identified as Muhammad Rafique, Yousaf Aslam, Muhammad Farhan, Khurram Shehzad, and Maqsood Alam. Two accused Syed Anwar Sherazi and Engineer Rashid Khan were reportedly in Italy, while one Safaraz Shah could not be traced, sources said. Sherazi, Shah, and Khan were working for a vehicle manufacturing company in Milan, Italy.
Federal sleuths were working on the electronic footprints left by the accused. The NR3C officials finally managed to arrest Rafique and Farhan when they were using counterfeit credit cards for buying cell phones from Lahore’s famed electronic market Hafeez Centre. The federal agents recovered 17 counterfeit cards from the accused.
Rafique revealed to the investigators that he and Anwar Shah went to Italy in 1998 for employment, where they met Rashid Khan, a Pakistani engineer, who was adept at making credit cards from stolen data.
In December 2011 they had purchased cell phones in bulk from Italy, using nine counterfeit credit cards, a member of the investigation team told The Express Tribune.
The accused said they purchased a machine that reads, writes, and pastes data on magnetic strips, a printer for printing on blank credit cards, large number of blank credit cards, two laptops from Bangkok, and reached Pakistan on March 13, 2012, he said.
After reaching Pakistan they purchased stolen data of credit cards from a website named Swiped and shifted it on blank cards through gadgets purchased from Bangkok, he said.
The accused said that Sherazi had left for Italy, while Rashid Khan was already settled in Italy. A team of federal agents will soon leave for Italy to arrest the wanted persons, he said.
In this regard FIA has decided to contact Interpol to secure their arrest on completion of the process of extradition, sources familiar with the development revealed.
A case has been registered against the accused at NR3C Police Station.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.
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