October 23, 2011

ICICI Bank recalls credit and debit cards after cloning scare

Chennai: ICICI Bank is recalling hundreds of credit and debit cards after being warned by the Chennai city police that customers' data have been stolen. Officials from other banks - private and national - said they were also initiating similar steps.

On October 5, the city police had busted a card-cloning racket. Initially, they received complaints from 64 card users and the number has been increasing ever since.

"Apparently data of several people have been stolen and misused. We advise card users to change their PIN immediately ," said central crime branch deputy commissioner S Radhika.

But neither the police nor the banks have been able to estimate the number of customers affected. The police have arrested Umesh Balaravindran , a Sri Lankan national living in Chennai, and four of his associates who are believed to have cloned credit cards using skimmers that copy data from ATMs. The police said they also bought card details put up on a website. Now the police have reasons to believe that more such gangs could be operating in Chennai and other cities.

Last week, ICICI either blocked or cancelled several cards following breach or suspecting problems. An ICCI spokesperson said the cards will be replaced free of cost within six working days.

"We continuously monitor all card transactions of our customers. If there is some suspicion in any transaction , we call the customer... We advise all customers to be careful, but there no need to panic," the bank spokesperson said.

Many banks have IPS officials on deputation from National Association of Software and Services Company ( Nascom) to monitor such frauds. They also work in collaboration with the city police.

Central Bank of India, which has 25 ATMs in the city, has categorized them as of high, medium and low risk. Officials said nearly 15 of the bank's ATMs are in the highrisk category. "We have CCTVs in all these ATMs apart from armed guards," a spokesperson said.

The Times of India