Officials investigating a cybercrime case in Bengaluru have now cracked nearly 4,000 similar cases across the country and arrested three persons allegedly involved in sextortion and other cyber frauds.
Cyber police under Karnataka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) identified the accused as Mohammed Mujahid, Mohammed Ikbal and Asif. The team nabbed the accused from various places in Haryana on Friday.
“Based on the information shared with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre conducted a detailed analysis and established links of the arrested persons to 3,951 cases across the country,” the CID said.
A 45-year-old man, who had befriended a woman on Facebook, shared some of his private moments on a video call. A few minutes later, he received images of his private parts and a man called him threatening to make the images public if money is not paid. The victim filed a complaint with the CID police station on August 22 this year. At the time, officials who took up the case had no clue that they were after a gang which had committed thousands of cybercrimes across the country.
Police said Mujahid had provided fake documents and obtained several SIM card agency retailerships from a reputed mobile service provider for the purpose of activating over 5,000 SIM cards linked with e-wallets of a reputed digital payment service.
Asif, a sub-agent for Mujahid, supplied photographs of several persons to create fake documents. With the fake documents, he activated SIM cards on behalf of Mujahid. Police said Ikbal runs a photostat-cum-printing centre. He created fake Aadhaar cards and supplied them to Mujahid based on the photos provided by Asif.
The accused exploited vulnerabilities in the mobile service provider’s application as well as the e-wallet application to activate SIM Cards linked to e-wallet accounts as it allows to know the name of the previous person who used that mobile number.
Based on the names found on the e-wallet application, Mujahid searched for PAN numbers issued on the same name. Using one of those PAN numbers he activated the e-wallet accounts previously linked with the mobile number.
The SIM cards and e-wallet accounts activated in this manner were sold for huge sums to cyber criminals in Rajasthan, who in turn used them to commit various crimes and extort money from victims.