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May 17, 2010

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Cashier stole by noting card numbers: police

A CASHIER in a hypermarket memorized the card numbers, transfer codes and passwords of customers' Lianhua OK cards, and used the information to shift thousands of yuan into an account she shared with her husband, police said.

Songjiang District police said the suspect cashier surnamed Chen filched the accounts of 12 of the consumer cards in just 10 days, taking a total of 20,000 yuan (US$2,930).

Police have detained Chen and her husband surnamed Yang.

At the beginning of this month, a resident surnamed Sun found 3,500 yuan were missing from his OK card account and called the police.

Sun said he used the consumer card occasionally and only in supermarkets. The police soon found that the amount in Sun's card, as well as that of another two victims', was transferred into another card that was being used often in purchases of major commodities, including cell phones and laptops.

The police soon studied the common ground of the victim cards and found they were all used in the same hypermarket, which remained unidentified, and caught Chen.

Being familiar with the payment cards, Chen was capable of memorizing the nine-digit card number, eight-digit transfer code on the back of the OK card and the six-digit password while the customer was typing carelessly. Once the customer left, Chen wrote those numbers down on paper.

After knowing Chen's trick, her husband Yang, a mechanic in a garage, started to transfer the amount of the victims' cards into his own OK card account to shop and even to get cash advances by lending the card to others.

As one of mostly accepted consumer cards in Shanghai, the Lianhua OK card has become a popular way for local companies to reward employees as a bonus or gift. The card is accepted by more than 8,000 shops, including supermarkets, pharmacies and travel agencies. It can also be used on the Internet.

Songjiang police said a lot of people never change the initial password of the card, an oversight that can give suspects the chance to work a scam.

Police said customers should never tell the cashier the password for the convenience of letting the latter finish the transaction.


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