This Is How A Gang Robbed Rs 20 Crore From 800 Indians Using This Modus Operandi!
A massive online scam was unearthed by the Union Home Ministry in concert with several state police departments.
Details Of The Fraud
The “Fraud-to-Phone” racket involved the theft of Rs 20 crore over 6-12 months from 800 people, carried out by 8 primary individuals in cahoots with hundreds more who are being surveilled or have already been rounded up.
The perpetrators used the stolen money to buy smartphones to sell on the dark market.
The racket which was busted by FCORD spanned 18 states and Union Territories.
FCORD is a resource of the Home Ministry which primarily deals with fake currency circulation, frauds, terrorism financing and more.
The Main Accused
The big brains behind the fraud are Hukum Singh Bisen of Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat and Sanjay Mahto of Jharkhand’s Deogarh.
Bisen was aspiring to join civil services and worked in the Indian Railways as an engineer.
Mahto would call the targets and eventually get to know their OTP, credit card details, phone numbers and addresses.
The perpetrators have been charged with black market transactions, tax evasion, money laundering, and dealing with stolen property.
CyberSafe To The Rescue
The key to busting the racket has been the CyberSafe portal which logs a dubious phone number as soon as the victim reports it.
The case was first revealed by a 78-year-old Udaipur resident on June 11 who filed a complaint on the FCORD-run CyberSafe app, saying that he had lost Rs 6.5 lakh online.
The CyberSafe app involves a network of over 3,000 law enforcement authorities, including police and the cyber cell spanning 19 states and UTs.
It has an up to date database of 99,418 records with details about fraudsters including their phone and bank account numbers.
One can enter a suspicious phone number on the portal to verify its authenticity.
Then the information is stored in the portal and fund flows are identified and communicated.
The portal can be accessed here
How It Went Down
When the Udaipur resident filed his complaint, it was found that the funds stolen from him were then credited to 3 SBI debit cards.
From there, the fraudsters bought 33 high end Xiaomi POCO M3 smartphones from Flipkart.
Their delivery addresses in Balaghat were quickly identified and promptly reported to the Balaghat Superintendent of Police.
The police then proceeded to detain the key individuals .
The handsets and other items used in the scam have been seized from Bisen in Balaghat.
They invested in expensive smartphones since they are always in demand, are popular and can only be bought online.
They purchased the phones for Rs 10,000 each and sold them in the black market at 5-10% discount.
Despite the discount, the crooks made profits as the phones were bought in bulk during online sales.
Police raids discovered 900 more phones purchased through 1,000 bank accounts and hundreds of UPI and e-commerce IDs.
So far, 100 bank accounts, debit and credit cards have been frozen.
As of now 65,000 phone frauds have been identified along with 55,000 phone numbers and several thousand bank accounts belonging to fraudsters.
The total loot presently comprises 900 cell phones and 1000 bank accounts illegally obtained.