Computer Crime Research Center


Computer crime: card tricks

Date: June 08, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: CCRC staff

Roman, who is the victim, told us about this outstanding case. He is a manager with one of big companies here in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. He said his company set up a contract on salary cards project with the bank A. Employees have their personal credit card accounts and receive their wages through ATMs of the VISA Classic international payment system. Roman also used mobile-banking services. When a transaction on his account occurs, an immediate notification is sent to his GSM phone via SMS.

Roman told CCRC it happened on February 6th, 2005. On that Sunday evening he and his wife were at home. They were receiving guests when Roman got an SMS saying that $300 have withdrawn from his account, he continued. In a minute he received another message and another $300 were gone. The third message notified about the next inquiry for $300, which was not performed due to insufficient funds on the account. His wife also had an additional card on the same account. The first idea that came into Roman’s mind was that the cards were stolen. However they found all their cards. SMS also stated the place where the inquiries were performed. It was the ATM of the Privatbank.

Without any loss of time Roman dialed the hotline number of the bank A. Bank personnel confirmed the cash disbursement of $600. According to their words, his wife’s Visa card was used to withdraw money. Bank officials recommended him to turn to the central office of the bank A in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

Next day Roman came to the central office of the bank A in Kiev. There he put in an application and canceled the additional card. He was told that bank’s security service would carry out an investigation and take certain measures. The most interesting is that Roman travels very much all over Ukraine, being in different cities, using the card to pay in shops, withdrawing money via ATMs. Therein it is much more possible that his card could be forged rather than his wife's. His feme was a housewife, she used her card only in two or three ATMs. Noone knew she had an access to the account.

The bank was silent during the next month. Roman spent a quite sum on phone calls to Kiev, resulting in no outcome. He was only told that bank security service is engaged in the case. Thereafter it turned out that the materials on the case were brought to the local Zaporozhye bank office. He received no answers except endless “will you call back tomorrow?”

In the middle of March bank security service of the Zaporozhye office phoned Roman and told that they turned out incompetent, such case was new to them. All they could do for him was just to pass the case to police. At the end of their conversation bank officials blabbed out about a certain scandal in the Visa payment system. An alleged leak of data occurred, someone supposedly could have obtained access to card accounts and Roman was not the only victim. Policemen in the regional police department didn’t promise much. They only told if they found a person, it would be possible to give the money back. The bank dropped out of the game. Police argued that Roman was the owner of the account, thus the money was stolen from him.

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