A 23-year-old female store clerk in Kwun Tong is facing jail time after she admitted to nine counts of credit card fraud in a hearing at a local court on Tuesday.
Pronouncing the verdict, the District Court remanded Ma Tsz-wa in custody ahead of sentencing on May 10.
Ma, who was a cashier at HeyYO!!, a frozen yogurt and ice-cream shop at the APM Shopping Mall, pleaded guility to all the charges against her, which include fraud, conspiracy to defraud and attempted fraud.
The court heard earlier that Ma began engaging in fraudulent activities in October 2014 after a man she met on social media coaxed her into stealing credit card information from customers and handing it over to him in exchange for monetary rewards, Apple Daily reports.
The shop clerk then stole information from 64 customers and 6 associates and got paid HK$5,500 from the man, who was believed to be working for a criminal group.
In December that year, Ma decided to use the card information she illegally acquired for online shopping so as to satisfy her own greed.
The card issuing banks detected abnormal transactions later and reported the matter to police, which led to the store clerk’s arrest in February 2015.
Investigations revealed that the defendant made purchases on several websites, buying a number of smartphones made by Apple, Sony and Samsung as well as many luxury handbags and purses of brands such as Prada, Chanel, Tory Burch, Valentino, Garavani, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo and Issey Miyake, among other things.
The goods she bought online with stolen credit card information were estimated to be worth about HK$620,000 (US$79,680) in total.
During a search of her home, police only recovered a few handbags, purses, mobile phones and computers.
Apart from Ma’s purchases, it is believed that the criminal group she assisted had used the stolen credit card information to buy goods worth as much as HK$630,000 online.
The affected banks included DBS, BEA, BOC, Standard Chartered and HSBC, Ming Pao Daily reports.
Legislator Charles Mok Nai-kwong, who represents the information technology sector, urged banks to make all of their credit cards fit for the tap-to-pay system similar to what is applied to Octopus cards.
If that is done, users will have their cards in hand at all times during payment process, reducing the possibility of shop clerks getting their hands on the cards and misusing the information, he said.
- Contact us at [email protected]