When 62-year-old Kishor Nagda’s SIM automatically got blocked on May 5, the Goregaon businessman believed it to be a technical glitch. Little did he know that he had become a victim of what is known as the ‘SIM swap’ scam.
The network came back 18 hours later, only to get blocked again. According to the police, during the period his SIM was blocked, cyber frauds transferred Rs 29.52 lakh from two Dena Bank accounts, owned by an electronics firm in which Nagda is a partner. “The company has two business accounts at the Goregaon branch of Dena Bank. Till May 4, there was Rs 40.27 lakh in one account and Rs 3.17 lakh in the second account,” Nagda said in his police complaint.
After his SIM got blocked on May 5, he went to the service provider’s outlet the next day to check. His SIM services were restored, only to be lost again on May 7. “When I went to the service provider’s kiosk again, they couldn’t provide me with any satisfactory answer. After that I went to my office but I noticed that I couldn’t transfer money from any of our bank accounts to clients. On May 8, I went to the Dena Bank branch along with my son and manager of our company,” Nagda said in his statement.
Bank officials told him that Rs 29.52 lakh were transferred from the two accounts in the last three days. Later, after he checked the account statement, he realised that the money was transferred in 21 different transactions and, in order to stop the bank from notifying the account holder, the fraudsters had blocked Nagda’s SIM card.
Nagda then lodged a police complaint. As the bank is located in the jurisdiction of Vanrai police station, the latter is now probing the case. “We got the case papers on Tuesday. The fraudsters are still at large. We are trying to identify them,” senior inspector Jyotsna Rasam said.
In such frauds, the accused first obtain the personal details of the complainant. “Then they make a dummy email account of the person they plan to victimise following which they make a request to the network company to port their services. During a short time span, they manage to get access to the complainant’s network and then transfer the amount,” said Brijesh Singh, head of Maharashtra cyber cell.