Hyderabad: A six-member inter-state gang was arrested by the Cyber Crimes Cell of Cyberabad for hacking company emails via phishing, collecting internet banking credentials and transferring funds.
The Nigerian kingpin behind the whole scam, Ebigbo Innocent alias James, is still at large.
The arrested gang members from Kolkata were identified as Odafe Henry, 25, native of Nigeria; Santosh Benerjee, 52; Ankan Saha, 31; Rajat Kundu, 35; Chandan Verma, 42; and Sanjib Das, 38.
Officials seized 17 cellphones, a laptop, three hard disks, a passport, two facsimile rubber stamps, three cheque books, three pass books, six debit cards, two Aadhaar cards, a PAN card and a lamination machine from them.
The racket was unearthed after Pantham Venkata Krishna lodged a complaint on December 18, 2018. “He said he held two accounts with South Indian Bank’s Suchitra branch, under the name of M/s Elim Chemicals and M/s Shalom Chemical Industries,” said the Police Commissioner of Cyberabad, Mr V.C. Sajjanar. “Around 8 pm on December 15, the mobile network connection to his mobile phone was disconnected. Two days later he got to know that `5 lakh had been transferred from the M/s Elim Chemicals account and `4 Lakh from the M/s Shalom Chemical Industries account respectively, through a net banking transaction, to other accounts in Kolkata.
When he enquired with the cellphone store, he was told that some unknown persons took out a new SIM card of his cellphone number on December 15 by submitting forged documents.
Ebigbo Innocent alias James is the kingpin of such crimes, sending phishing mail to companies and hacking them.
“Through phishing, he collects the credentials of internet banking and the registered mobile number and shares these details with his counterparts, Odafe Henry, Santosh Benerjee and Rajat Kundu,” said police commissioner Mr Sajjanar.
“Benerjee is the supplier of fictitious bank accounts, opened in different names with fake identities, to James. He was earlier arrested by Jaipur police in 2015 for his involvement in a similar offence. Ankan Saha has opened several accounts on Benerjee’s instructions in different banks to facilitate James in transferring amounts into his accounts. Rajat Kundu stays in direct contact with James and collects subscribers’ registered mobile number details through his sources at mobile telecom stores. After obtaining the mobile subscriber details, he prepares fake documents in the name of the company and procures new SIM cards with the assistance of Chandan Verma and Sanjib Das.” the official added.
James carries out net banking transactions from the defrauded person’s bank account and transfers funds by using OTPs generated on the obtained new SIM card. Once the amounts are transferred, the same is either withdrawn from different locations or used to purchase gold ornaments, which are then converted into cash by Benerjee and handed over to Henry.
“With the amount, Henry procures articles and goods in Kolkata on the instructions of James and ships them to Nigeria. So far the gang has targeted several companies in various parts of the country,” the official said.