MUMBAI: The cyber police of north Mumbai region have arrested four people who were accused of running a pan-India cybercrime ring by scamming OLX users who were pretending to be buyers. Over 750 crimes have been done by the accused in the last year and a half.
Police officials say that an investigation into the scam began in August 2022, after a senior executive at a private company fell for it. The victim had just moved from Surat to Mumbai and wanted to sell some of his furniture. He put an ad on the OLX for this. The accused got in touch with him and said he wanted to buy it.
Engaging And Trapping Their Targets Through Smooth
“The accused told him that he was sending Rs 9,000 as a down payment to ensure the deal would go through. The victim said that wasn’t necessary, but they insisted and sent him a QR code requesting to scan it. He didn’t know it, but it was a reverse QR Code that was set up to receive money instead of sending it. When the victim scanned the code, the amount was taken out of his account,” said Balsing Rajput, who is the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber).
Vicious Circle Of QR Codes To Withdraw Money
In the next two hours, the accused sent him QR codes with increasing amounts while pretending to return his money. In the end, he took out Rs 17.82 lakh from his account. After that, the victim went to the police, and a FIR was registered.
Fake SIM And Bank Accounts Used By Bharatpur Gang
As the police looked into the case, they found that 835 cell phone numbers and 38 phones were linked to the bank accounts where the money had been moved. Further technical analysis showed that the same numbers and accounts had been used to commit multiple crimes. After three months of investigating, the police zeroed in on the Bharatpur district in Rajasthan.
Sarvasukh Rujdar (37), Tulsiram Meena (25), Ajit Poswal (19), and Irsad Sardar (25), all from Bharatpur, were arrested in an operation that took place over the last five days with the help of the police in Rajasthan. Sardar was caught in Uttar Pradesh, while the first three were caught in their hometowns.
Rajput said that the scam consisted of four parts, or modules. The first module got in touch with the targets as soon as they posted ads on OLX and persuaded them to “sell” them their furniture. The phone numbers of the targets would then be sent to the second module. The second module would call the targets, send them the QR codes, and scam them out of every penny they had.
He also said that the third module would move around in places with lots of ATM kiosks and take out money in different amounts as it came in. The fourth module would use fake documents to set up bank accounts and then give the second and third modules control over those accounts.
“So far, the Mumbai police have received 10 FIRs and 13 applications that match this method of operation or have links to the mobile numbers or bank accounts used by this gang. The Telengana police have also sent information about 577 cases in which this gang is thought to have been involved. Another 270 complaints from other parts of the country have been sent to the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal and are also being looked into,” Rajput said.
On Sunday, the suspects were brought to Mumbai and put in front of a local court, which sent them back to police custody until January 4.
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