'Cloned' credit cards sold at Recto

Posted at 11/26/10 9:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) warned the public against a syndicate "cloning" credit cards and selling these cheap at Recto Avenue, known as the "fake" capital of the country.

Authorities recently apprehended a man identified as Kelvin Barrenechea in an appliance store in SM Harrison Plaza after purchasing thousands of pesos worth of goods using a fake credit card.

Store manager Francis Penaranda said they discovered the fraud the third time the suspect went to their shop.
"Nagda-doubt nako kasi sunud-sunod na. Sabi ko 'wag tigilan hanggang 'di makontact ang bangko at [ma-verify]," he said.

Penaranda said that during Barrenechea's last purchase, they noticed that the credit card number registered on their cashier terminal was different from what was on the card itself.

They later on found out from the credit card issuer that the card had been deactivated after it was reported stolen.

Barrenechea denied having anything to do with the credit card cloning, and said he just bought the card at a shop along Recto.

According to NBI Criminal Investigation Division head Romy Bon Huy Lim, the latest credit card modus operandi uses a skimming device to duplicate credit cards of unwitting victims or steal legitimate information of existing users.

He said it was in 2007 when they first discovered this kind of illegal activity.

"Clino-clone ang isang existing or active na credit card. Mapapansin na lang na pag-swipe tinatanggap. However, mapapnsin din na yung resibo, wherein naka-print doon yung credit card number ng active, ay magkaiba sa credit card na actual," Lim said.

Lim advised the public to be cautious in using their credit cards, and immediately tell their banks in case these are stolen. - Report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News