Police have arrested the alleged mastermind of a syndicate that embezzled money from unsuspecting bank account holders by forging the debit and credit cards of five different banks.
Shariful Islam, 33, was caught by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) from the Mirpur area in Dhaka on Tuesday evening.
Police recovered a laptop, 1,400 cloned cards, a digital watch with a magnetic strip reader, three POS machines, two mini-card reader devices, 14 passports, eight mobile phones, a wig and sunglasses, and three National Identity (NID) cards.
At a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, CID Organized Crime Division Special Superintendent of Police Molla Nazrul Islam said Shariful used to work at Shwapno Super Shop and took advantage of his position to steal information from customers.
When a customer approached Shariful to pay their bill with an ATM card, he would steal the details of their card using a specially designed digital watch, while also watching as they entered their pin number.
Subsequently, when Shariful returned home, he would enter the victim’s details and pin on the laptop and use the other equipment to clone the ATM card. He would then use the cloned card to withdraw money from ATM booths while using a wig and sunglasses as a disguise.
Molla Nazrul Islam said CID became aware of the scam in the second week of March this year and began investigation. The banks whose cards were copied were Brac Bank, City Bank, EBL, UCBL, and Bank Asia.
He added that Shariful admitted his involvement in the forgery racket during primary interrogation. Quoting Shariful, the special superintendent said the arrestee learned the card forging technique from his Russian roommate Ivanovic, while he was in Russia for his higher studies after passing the HSC exams.
Shariful returned to Bangladesh in 2010, after completing a three year degree in mine engineering, and began his card forgery operation. He spent 18 months in jail after his conviction in two cases in 2013.
Upon his release, Shariful opened a student consulting firm in an attempt to make an honest living. However, after failing to find much success, he returned to forgery.
Molla Nazrul Islam said Shariful used to live a life of luxury due to the ATM card forgery operation, with crores of Taka in his bank account.
Although Shariful claims to have worked alone, saying he bought the equipment for the forgery online through Alibaba.com, the special superintendent added they were investigating if others were involved the racket.