A gang of cybercriminals, who was allegedly running a countrywide cyber fraud racket, has been arrested by the Mumbai Cyber Crime Division in the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The cyber authorities suspect over 200,000 individuals across the country may have been conned by the accused in the form of ‘loan processing fees’.
The suspected gang leader was Sanjeev Kumar Singh has been identified to be an unsuccessful contestant for assembly elections from UP.
Fake apps under legitimate schemes:
The cybercriminal leader had seemingly set up more than 10 phony loan applications along with his engineer and developer criminal associates.
The phony loan apps were running fake schemes in the name of one of the Prime Minister’s many loan schemes. The cybercriminals offered loans and conned the victims by taking ‘loan processing fees’ from them.
Statements from cyber authorities report that when the social analysis team was investigating, they encountered links for the phony loan apps such as the Pradhan Mantri Yojana Loan and Mudra Loan on social media platforms, which claimed to offer loans.
To make the victims believe the authenticity and legitimacy of the bogus apps, the gang of cybercriminals had also set up fake websites wherein victims would fill in their data and then would receive phone calls via two call centers organized by the cybercriminals in Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh.
Substantial number of victims:
According to the official reports, the cybercriminals would demand the loan processing fees which would range from anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000. Since the extorted amounts in individual instances were not very substantial, several victims did not even report the cybercrime or thought the loan application was not processed.
There was a staggering number of over 250,000 downloads of the nine fake apps alone. The number of people who may have registered on the website may be possibly even larger.
The sheer magnitude of the cyber racket:
The phony apps were also marketed and advertised on large scales using newspaper and social media platforms. It is clear that this was a very calculative and extensive cybercrime racket, judging by the sheer amount of investments made by the gang of cybercriminals to dupe victims all over the country.
Law authorities apparently have discovered 25 bank accounts and e-wallets through which the extorted money was routed. These bank accounts were created using fake identities and documents.
Innocent civilians impacted:
Another rather exceptional victim of the sham was an innocent civilian whose private phone number was listed in the phony apps as an authentic contact number.
The victim was receiving threat calls from other victims of the cyber racket, demanding that he return the extorted money. The individual has reported an FIR regarding the issue that has been registered in the case by cyber authorities.
The four arrested cybercriminals faced their due trial in court and have been detained in police custody for the time being.