Restaurant owners arrested on skimming charges

07 August 2003 by
Restaurant owners arrested on skimming charges

Five fast-food restaurant owners were arrested in north-west London last week for an alleged bank fraud that netted them £6.35m over several months. They are believed to have raided 98 bank accounts using cloned and counterfeit credit cards, created by "skimming" or copying the magnetic strip data from credit cards by swiping them through a small device.

The suspects - five Sri Lankans in their 30s, including one woman - were arrested at residential addresses in Colindale, Wembley and Edgware. All have been bailed from North West London Police Station and ordered to return at various dates around mid-September for further enquiries.

Following the arrests, police raided four fast-food restaurants in the same areas and took away computers, counterfeit cards, bank documents and correspondence. They were not part of a chain.

Skimming cost banks £148.5m in 2002. The introduction of chip and PIN cards is designed to target skimming and to check the use of lost and stolen cards.

The arrests were made by the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, a joint operation between London's Metropolitan and City police forces that was set up as a pilot scheme last year by the Association of Payment Clearing Services, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office.

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