Skim scam waiter charged

Ke Jiayun
A former waiter who allegedly copied diners' bank card information has been charged in Xuhui.
Ke Jiayun

A waiter who allegedly copied diners' bank card information with a refitted POS machine and used it to forge cards and steal money from their accounts has been charged with credit card fraud by prosecutors in Xuhui District.

Cai, from Guangdong Province, had been on the run for five years but surrendered himself to police in Guangzhou in December last year after his accomplice Wu was arrested.

According to Xuhui District People's Procuratorate, a local victim, Yang, received several messages at home in March 2014 about withdrawals and transfers from her bank account. She contacted the bank and was informed that 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) had been withdrawn from her account in Maoming City, Guangdong, and another 50,000 yuan had been transferred to the account of a man she had never heard of. Yang then went to the police.

Several people, including some foreigners, living in Shanghai called police with similar complaints.

Police found the victims had all eaten in restaurants near Xintiandi between late 2013 and early 2014 and used their bank cards to pay their bills. They recalled that the waiter took their cards away and returned with a POS machine on which they typed in their passwords.

Officers targeted Cai as a suspect and launched online manhunt in May 2014. In June, they arrested Chen who had withdrawn money from some of the accounts involved. He confessed and said another man, Wu, had asked him to do so and promised him 10 percent of the amount. He had helped Wu to withdraw more than 130,000 yuan and received over 10,000 yuan in payment.

Wu was captured in October last year and told police that the forged cards and passwords were all provided by Cai.

After giving himself up, Cai said he bought the POS card-skimming machine for 500 yuan at the end of 2013 and went to Shanghai to seek a job as a waiter, then moved from restaurant to restaurant. He used the machine to copy the information from the customers' bank cards and secretly recorded their passwords when they typed them in.

He resigned from the last restaurant in January 2014 and went back to his hometown to have the data extracted from the machine. He forged two cards and asked Wu to help him with the withdrawals.

Prosecutors warned card users not to give their cards to others and to pay attention to the POS machine and check for any abnormal accessories. When typing in passwords, it is best to prevent others from seeing.

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