THE Criminal Investigation Department coming to arrest a man at Mirpur in Dhaka in possession of 1,400 plastic cards on charge of credit card forgery is both encouraging and concerning, on different notes though. The man arrested in possession of the plastic cards, used to forge credit cards, is reported to have already swindled Tk 10 million from booths of a number of banks, including BRAC Bank, City Bank, Eastern Bank Limited, United Commercial Bank Limited and Asian Bank in February and March. The man, who worked with a grocery chain shop, is reported to have copied secret numbers of credit cards with the help of a specially-made wrist watch when shoppers used their cards after which he duplicated the shoppers’ cards to withdraw money from the bank booths. Besides, the investigators received the allegation of credit card forgery in August 2017 when 49 clients lost their money but the issue could not be investigated further. Similar allegations came up again when the arrested withdrew Tk 10 million in early March and clients filed complaints with their banks. Police records say that the man was first arrested at Chittagong on the same charge in 2011 but was remanded on bail 18 months after the arrest after which he continued with his forgery business.
In view of this, the arrest is welcome in that the police could arrest the perpetrator at least in one of the cases reported. But what remains to be concerning is that there could be other cases in which other perpetrators are still at large. The investigators seek to say, as New Age reported on Thursday, that the arrested had the 1,400 virgin credit cards brought through an international courier service from China. The New Age report further says that in March 2106, the customs intelligence and investigation directorate seized 1,000 blank automated teller machine cards imported from Hong Kong and no one could be arrested in this connection. In June 2016, customs official seized 1,00,000 illegally imported automated teller machine cards, which reached Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on a Singapore Airways flight, with the intended purpose of committing financial crimes. The law enforcers arrested a German in 2016 and three employees of a local bank on charge of stealing credit and debit card information by installing skimming devices at ATM booths and shops to clone cards to steal money from banks. These bits of information raise fears that financial transactions through ATM booths, point of sales terminals and credit and debit cards are still vulnerable and it calls out the government on doing a lot to make financial issues involving plastic cards for transaction secure.
The government, under the circumstances, must take up the issue seriously. It must see that anti-skimming devices have been installed in all ATM booths, which it ordered in 2016. While ironing out issues that involve transactions through plastic cards, the government must also step up efforts to bring to justice any offenders involving such financial crimes.
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