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Two Nigerian Cyber Criminals Operating WhatsApp VVIP Profile Fraud Arrested By Punjab Police

Punjab Police and Delhi Police together unearthed an international cyber fraud ring and arrested two Nigerian nationals from the national capital.

With the arrest of two Nigerian men in Delhi, the Punjab Police Cyber Crime Cell has effectively busted an International Cyber Fraud Racket in which imposters used profile images and names of VVIPs on their WhatsApp account to fool government officials and ordinary people.

HOW NIGERIAN CYBER CRIMINALS CHEATED PEOPLE

The imposters used to send personal WhatsApp messages to people, asking for financial favours in the form of Amazon gift cards, Paytm, or any other digital payment method, and they have duped many people by impersonating Cabinet Ministers, DGP Punjab, Chief Secretary Punjab, and other IAS/IPS officers.

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“With these arrests, the Punjab Police has uncovered another trail that led to a deep-rooted cyber fraud syndicate spreading from Delhi and involved primarily Nigerian nationals with a smattering of Indian accomplices,” said DGP Gaurav Yadav.

Anioke Hyginus Okwudili alias Poka and Franklyn alias William, both natives of Lagos, Nigeria, were arrested and were currently residing in the national capital.

One Canara Bank Debit Card, different gadgets, mobile phones, computers, expensive watches, and passports were recovered from their possession.

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MULTI-CITY INVESTIGATION

Following an exhaustive hi-tech investigation and credible information from WhatsApp, police received key leads, prompting the formation of three separate police teams with the tasks of financial, technical, and fieldwork inquiry.

Cops apprehended Poka while he was withdrawing money from an ATM near Vikaspuri in Delhi.

During questioning, accused Anioke alias Poka revealed that WhatsApp accounts in Nigeria were hacked and he used to withdraw money using ATM cards from bank accounts opened with fake documents in various parts of the country; the money was later handed over to their kingpin, Franklin alias William, who used to transfer the money to Nigeria. To apprehend the perpetrators, the police force conducted operations across Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and the Jind and Alwar regions.

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TECHNICAL INVESTIGATION

DIG Cyber Crime Nilambari Jagadale stated that the kingpin’s arrest was accompanied by the recovery of about 108 GB of data, which revealed the magnitude of financial activities totaling millions of rupees every day.

“The material containing screenshots of the allegedly impersonated IDs and retrieved transactions totaling crores of rupees has been sent for forensic analysis for further investigation into drug connection, Hawala transactions, and the entire sphere of operations,” she said.

During the course of the investigation, two bank accounts were identified, whose statements revealed that the money from these accounts was further syphoned to four other bank accounts and then to 11 bank accounts, creating a network of extensive layering, according to the DIG, who added, “After breaking this mesh layering network, it was discovered that the money was being withdrawn from multiple ATMs from the area of Vikaspuri, Ganesh Nagar, Tilak Nagar, and Nangloi in Delhi.”

Meanwhile, the Cyber Crime Cell had already filed four FIRs for similar fraud that had recently occurred.

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