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PARLIAMENTARIAN AND POLICE CAUTION THAT BRITISH CREDIT CARD FRAUDS ARE INCREASING TO FUND TAMIL TERRORISM

By Walter Jayawardhana


Andrew Selous, a Conservative Party MP

British credit card frauds in which numbers of such cards have been skimmed, cloned and misused to steal money all over the world have increased alarmingly as means to fund terrorism charged a United Kingdom parliamentarian and Police.

Andrew Selous, a Conservative Party MP told the House of Commons recently that “it has been suggested to me that some of the money may have found its way to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka” possibly to fund terrorism.

Mr. Selous said, “My wife had 1000 Pounds stolen in four or five withdrawals from cash points in New York in early January (2008)”

While the British Member of Parliament said that withdrawals of money from such cards have spread to many countries of the world the Toronto Police in Canada confirming the point said that two Londoners who are found to be members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with two other Canadian accomplices have been arrested with thousands of skimmed British credit card numbers after their arrival in Canada and while traveling close to the Toronto International Airport. The two Londoners arrested during early February were Kirubakaran Selvanayagam Pillai (38) and Sethukavalar Saravanabhavan (35).

The South West Bedfordshire member of parliament of the United Kingdom, Andrew Selous told the parliament that the United kingdom being the most chip and pin compliant country in credit card transactions in Europe and possibly the whole world it has unfortunately not made the British credit card customers safer than the same in foreign countries. A pin number is a secret number only the customer knows to use with the card when a transaction is made with a credit or debit card . Together with a credit card number the con artists also skim the pin number at places where a card is used.

“Britain has,” he said “ chip and pin -all credit to UK financial services, we are the most chip and pin compliant country in Europe and possibly the whole world . We are even better than Luxembourg, which is the next best in Europe . However that does not mean that as UK citizens we are any safer. Highly organized criminal gangs clone the details from the magnetic strips on the back of our credit and debit cards and take our pin numbers through the skimming machines and money is then withdrawn all over the world.”

The Conservative Party MP said from talking to his constituents and the Police he has found that money is being withdrawn from Malaysia, America, India, Hong Kong, Philippines, Dubai, Australia, Canada , Sri Lanka, Singapore, Germany and Thailand.

Mr. Selous also pointed out that the crim had been attempted in Ghana but was not successful.
“Let us pause for a moment and consider the scale of that highly organized sophisticated criminal operation,” he contemplated.

Bringing this to the notice of the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department , Meg Hillier the Conservative Party MP requested him to review the current Police investigations procedures , which he said were “clearly failing.”

The parliamentarian said at the end of November or in early December at a garage in his constituency a skimming machine had been inserted in the debit and credit card machine and according to the Bradfordshire police 745 debit and credit cards have had money stolen on multiple occasions. The MP said he was talking about amounts ranging from 1000 to 5000 Pounds from five to twelve occasions. He said his wife who was a victim was luckier since she had realized the fraud after she checked her bank account after about 1000 Pounds were stolen in four or five withdrawals.

“On many occasions I have told Bedfordshire Police that if 745 purses and wallets had been stolen ….there would probably have been police officers behind almost every hedge trying to catch the culprits. Card crime is no less serious .We are talking about lot more money than most people have in their purse or wallet. The fact that the money is always almost reimbursed by the financial institutions does not make the theft any less traumatic, difficult and upsetting for the person any less of a crime,” Mr. Andrew Selous said.

He said one of his constituents wrote to him and said, “No law abiding citizen can witness the large scale theft of money from the UK without indignation.”

He quoted another as saying , “They cleared our account down to 5 Pounds. We have two kids to feed as well. We were worried about how we would survive for three weeks until my husband got paid again.”

Pointing out the weaknesses in British law Mr. Selous said , people finding out their money being stolen cannot go to the police unless their card has been stolen but on many occasions the card has not been stolen but skimmed and cloned. So, the MP said the victims only could go to their financial institutions to complain and those institutions would eventually inform the police. But after 745 cards have been cloned the Police did not have even one referral from such institutes like a bank. While this was going on , the parliamentarian said the police could not walk into the garage which was skimming the cards for cloning even though everybody knew where it was happening. But when the police raided the garage it was a “classic case of locking the stable door after the horse had bolted,” the MP said. He was lamenting the law was not efficient to raid the garage after few clones have been suspected there.

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