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Duplicating credit cards

At first I thought I was dreaming. I had got up at four in the morning to prepare for the nineteenth fast of the holy month when I saw on my cell phone that I had received seven messages from my credit card bank, informing me that I had used my credit card to buy about 2,000 dollars worth of stuff in Saudi Arabia.
I pinched myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. My credit card and I were both physically present in Karachi, while someone in Saudi Arabia was buying jewellery using my credit card. I immediately called the bank, which blocked all further purchases from my card. The next morning I visited the bank and found that someone in a shop in Clifton had made a copy of my credit card and was now using it.
I was also told that there were many others like me who had been victimised. I was stunned, and then annoyed. Why couldn’t the banks make cards which could not be duplicated? Apparently, they can’t, and the man who has the duplicating machine will go on using it and could well become a billionaire in a couple of years. More shocking was the fact that even if they know who he is, he can’t be tried in a court, not even if he returns to Pakistan (unless he confesses).
In the meantime, all credit card users should ensure that the card is inserted into the charging device in their presence and not taken away out of their sight on some pretext or the other.

SHAKIR LAKHANI
Karachi
Published in DAWN, 4th September 2011

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