PARLIAMENTARIAN AND POLICE
CAUTION THAT BRITISH CREDIT CARD FRAUDS ARE INCREASING TO FUND TAMIL
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
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
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is then withdrawn all over the world.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
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