Retired judge loses Rs 18,000 to card cloning

PUNE: A retired district judge lost Rs 18,000 in a suspected case of debit card in 12 hours between Thursday and Friday. One of the three transactions was affected after the judge, G T Wategaonkar, had blocked his card.

“They misused my new EMV chip that was replaced by the bank on December 29. Such cards are supposed to be protected from skimming and stolen card frauds,” he told TOI.

The retired judge had also worked as the secretary of the justice P B Sawant inquiry commission which was constituted in 2003 to probe charges of corruption charges against the then ministers by social crusader Anna Hazare. It also probed the counter charges against Hazare.

Wategaonkar on Friday approached the cyber crime police station of the Pune police and gave a complaint application about his loss. “I have also blocked my account to avoid any further fraudulent transactions,” he added.

He said his old card was deactivated after he activated the new one. “I was travelling to Kothurd and my wallet was misplaced in an autorickshaw. It contained Rs 35,000, my old debit card and Aadhaar card. I lodged a complaint with the police,” Wategaonkar said.

On Thursday night, he received an SMS stating that Rs 3,000 had been withdrawn from his account. “Before I could the bank, another Rs 10,000 was debited. I sent an SMS to the bank to block my card, but it was not delivered. So I ed the bank’s number and told the person to block my card.”

Wategaonkar said he received an SMS that the card had been blocked and he decided to approach the bank on Friday.

But his shock multiplied on Friday morning when he saw another debit message for Rs 5,000 from his account.

“Along with my daughter, I went to the bank and blocked my account. I told the bank official that I did not share details of my debit card and yet money was siphoned from my account,” Wategaonkar said.

Wategaokar said, “In comparison with huge amounts of recent bank frauds, the amount I have lost is less. But, I am a pensioner and that little amount is important for me. On one hand the government is insisting on using plastic money instead of cash transactions and on the other hand fraudsters are misusing it. I will have to rethink whether to use debit card or not.”

An officer from the cyber police station told TOI that it could be a case of card cloning. “The suspect withdrew the amount from an ATM kiosk in Thane. We will get the CCTV footage from the bank to identity the suspect,” the officer said.
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