The Uttar Pradesh police’s Special Task Force (STF) Sunday said it has nabbed the kingpin of a gang that procured data of 14 lakh customers illegally and allegedly duped people to the tune of Rs 200 crore through online fraud over a period of time.
Nandan Rao Patel, arrested here on Saturday by the Noida field unit of the STF, used to procure the data of clients of major online shopping companies and sell them to fake call centres, police officials said.
The first related case was registered in Varanasi in 2008, they said. Explaining the modus operandi, STF Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajkumar Mishra said that Patel was the “director” of a digital promotion and bulk SMS firm by the name of Anic World Company.
“He would get the (consumer) data hacked through people he knew and buy it for Rs 2-3 per customer. He would sell this data to fake call centres, duping online buyers in Delhi-NCR, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, etc for Rs 5-6 per customer,” Mishra said.
He said Patel and his gang would target customers of online shopping sites like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Paytm, Snapdeal, Shopclues, HomeShop18 etc, besides general and life insurance companies.
The officer further said that scam callers would call innocent persons, giving an impression that they are from online shopping and insurance companies and wanted to transfer them money.
“The gang used to lure people by offering them fake lucky draws and expensive gifts against the online shopping they would have recently made. They further ask them to deposit a certain amount as registration fees in order to claim their gift.
“They tricked the target into believing in them and upon getting the card and account details of the target customer, the gang used to transfer money to payment merchants such as PayU, Paytm, Olacabs, Mobikwik, and a few bank accounts,” said the DSP.
The gang also used UPI payment modes like Paytm, PhonePe, Tez, BHIM for committing fraud and these accounts were made on fake profiles, the STF officer said.
This gang has deep network in Delhi-NCR’s Ghaziabad, Noida and more details about Patel’s works are being gathered, he said.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (STF, Lucknow) Vishal Vikram Singh said four members of the gang were arrested earlier in November 2018, while search is on Patel’s aides, three to four of them.
“Patel, the mastermind of the entire fraud gang, has been nabbed and others linked to him would be held soon,” he told PTI.
Mishra said the accused was arrested from his office in Sector 142 on Saturday afternoon. During the arrest, his two cell phones and laptop among other items were seized, he added.
“Data of 14 lakh customers of major online shopping websites have been found so far,” he said, adding that the data was being sent for forensic audit.
“Efforts are on to find out from where the data was breached, how they were able to set up several fake accounts and the modus operandi about their frauds. According to the information received so far, the gang has committed frauds worth approximately Rs 200 crore,” Mishra said.
In 2017, a case was registered against the gang at Noida’s Sector 20 police station while the accused admitted to having been booked earlier in Pathankot , Raipur, Bikaner, Chandigarh, among others, he said.
A new case has been lodged against him at the Cyber Crime Police Station in Noida’s sector 36 and the probe is underway.