A wave of credit card theft and forgery is sweeping Egypt, according to officials cited by the daily Al Alam Al Youm.
"The number of crimes related to credit cards is on the rise," says Adel Al Shimi, a financial expert from Cairo. "This has resulted in a serious competition between the thieves and insurance companies which are trying to fight against the phenomenon."
Most Egyptians still prefer to use cash to avoid being deceived by gangs that specialize in forging credit cards. Banks estimate the number of credit card holders in Egypt at more than 200,000.
The deputy chairman of Egypt's Union of Banks, Dr. Baha Hilmi, told the newspaper that more than 15,000 Egyptian businessmen use credit cards on a daily basis.
"The number of businessmen using credit cards is growing every day," he added. Hilmi urged parliament to pass new laws that would help the authorities in their battle against the thieves.
Financial sources say the criminals use several methods to obtain details about the credit cards and the identity of the owners. In some cases documented by police, the thieves impersonated as policemen and bank employees and asked for the information over the telephone.
The callers would tell the credit card holders that they are checking certain details of transactions and convince the owners to give them secret codes and ID numbers. Other cases revealed by the police show that some bank employees worked in cooperation with the thieves. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )