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Transnational bank fraud case cracked

By Yu Ran (Chinadaily.com.cn)

08:27, June 19, 2012

A transnational bank card fraud case involving 146 suspects who swindled more than 1 billion yuan ($157 million) was uncovered by the police in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province last week.

According to a news release from the Shaoxing public security bureau, 1,955 bank cards, more than 100 computers, 12 cars, more than 500 cell phones and a gun were confiscated by 15 teams of 250 police officers across eight provinces and cities during a seven-month investigation.

"A blank bank card with only a magnetic stripe in an ATM machine was noticed by a cashier in a bank in the city on Nov 22, and the first suspect was arrested four days later by using a blank bank card to withdraw cash," said Jin Yu, a police officer with the bureau.

Jin added that the suspects are originally from Taiwan and South Korea, and made counterfeit bank cards after obtaining bank account information via e-mail and text messages in the name of authorities or banks.

After obtaining pin numbers for the bank accounts, the suspects made blank bank cards with magnetic strips and immediately tried to transfer money from those accounts to overseas accounts.

The latest information from the police showed that the group had already obtained information from more than 150 personal bank accounts from banks in South Korea and Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank in China.

"It was the first time that we've uncovered such as a large group of criminals related to a financial fraud case across different countries," Jin said.

In the past four years, police in Shaoxing had filed more than 800 cases related to bank card fraud.

"I've received many text messages and phone calls recently from people in the name of banks, asking me for the pin numbers or to transfer money to a safe account. Luckily, I called the bank to and found out it was totally a trap," said Zheng Chan, a resident from Shaoxing.

Zheng said he hopes the local police will solve more similar cases to bring a safer banking system for bank card holders.

To prevent their clients from being cheated, some banks have planned to introduce new bank card technology.

"A new type of the bank card will be launched hopefully next year to clients to prevent them from being cheated with personal information when they use their cards," said Wu Quan, an officer from a branch of China Construction Bank in Shaoxing.

Wu added that the magnetic stripe will be replaced by an IC chip to store the personal information, which is believed to be safer.

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