CARDS & PAYMENTS | Tony Chua, India

ICICI Bank recall cards following cloning scare

The lender joined its rivals in the move after the city received complaints from 64 card users.

ICICI Bank is recalling hundreds of credit and debit cards after being warned by the Chennai city police that customers' data have been stolen. Officials from other banks -- private and national -- said they were also initiating similar steps.

On October 5, the city police had busted a card-cloning racket. Initially, they received complaints from 64 card users and the number has been increasing ever since. "Apparently data of several people have been stolen and misused. We advise card users to change their PIN immediately," said central crime branch deputy commissioner S Radhika, according to a report in Times of India.

But neither the police nor the banks have been able to estimate the number of customers affected. The police have arrested Umesh Balaravindran, a Sri Lankan national living in Chennai, and four of his associates who are believed to have cloned credit cards using skimmers that copy data from ATMs. The police said they also bought card details put up on a website. Now the police have reasons to believe that more such gangs could be operating in Chennai and other cities.

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