The Metropolitan Police has arrested five men in connection with a credit card fraud gang targeting PC dealers. Last year the same gang was believed to have swindled about 400 companies out of more than #500,000 (PC Dealer, 16 October 1996).
In December, Banbury Computers was approached by several companies offering US credit card numbers for the payment of processors. On the first occasion, ALO Computers had its order refused when its credit card number was rejected. Two further orders for chips valued at #4,500 each from companies calling themselves KC Tech and DSB Computers were fulfilled.
Banbury MD Peter Donovan was unaware he had been dealing with an established criminal gang until after Christmas.
?I got a call from Cardnet early in January saying they thought that DSB and KC Tech were involved in a fraud. They advised me to contact the police as the card issuers had refused to honour the payments,? he said.
The credit card numbers used by the fraudsters all related to Bank One, a US bank based in Ohio. The gang is thought to have downloaded the numbers from the Net.
Southwark Police set up a controlled drop after KC Tech contacted Banbury with another bogus order. ?I was asked to attend the police raid, to see if I could identify any equipment,? said Donovan. The police arrested five men who will appear in court this week.
The second sting for Banbury came when Cardnet refused to take responsibility for the payments. Cardnet, like all card companies, only checks that a card is not reported missing or stolen and that there are sufficient funds available to cover the purchase.
?Not only is it important that dealers remain vigilant, we now need to join forces and put pressure on the credit card companies,? said Donovan.
?If, for example, a card number is used in a fraud, we need to be sure that the credit card companies will accept responsibility if they fail to alert dealers to that number should it reappear.?
Anyone who thinks they have encountered similar scams should contact Southwark Police on 0171 232 6704.
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