The detentions follow warnings from the Bank of Mozambique that cloning has been detected. The Bank urged card holders to take particular care of their cards when using them to make purchases or to withdraw money at ATMs.
The four were named as Phica Tshabalala (32), Thuthuko Ndlovo (29), Sbusi Nkiza (35) and Asanda Nkimana (27).
They were found in possession of 37 cards from various banks, eight mobile phones, a laptop computer and a Toyota Caroilla vehicle.
The spokesperson for the Maputo City Police Command, Arnaldo Chefo, told reporters that the suspects had been detained in Maputo last week, thanks to the collaboration of one of the banks (which he declined to name).
“They had been making withdrawals and transfers in a commercial bank, and thanks to the suspicions of the bank, we were able to arrest he first two in a small hotel, and they led us to the other members of the group”, said Chefo.
He said the four were specialists in credit and debit card fraud, and transferred the money they stole to banks abroad.
When the four men spoke to “Noticias”, they denied having anything to do with the cloning of bank cards.
“These cards don’t belong to us”, they said. “We don’t know how they ended up in our bags. We only recognise our personal cards”.
Chefo said that the police, in collaboration with the country’s banks, have been investigating cloning since last year. He made it clear that the police believe the criminal network extends well beyond the four South Africans detained, and includes Mozambicans and citizens of Asian countries.
After the first cases of cloning were detected, the governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Ernesto Gove, said that the banks, in collaboration with the Mozambican authorities, were seeking effective strategies for preventing criminals from using technological development to loot citizens’ bank accounts.Post published in: Africa News