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Spyware installed through SMS used to dupe thousands across country, 4 held: Police

Police said the four accused, one of whom is a qualified engineer, had duped several people of lakhs of rupees, adding they had access to thousands of mobile numbers belonging to people from across the country.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
August 12, 2021 4:34:13 am
A senior officer said that the police department had recently received a complaint from a mobile service provider stating that a number of its customers had been duped.

WITH THE arrest of four persons last week, the Cyber Police has claimed to have busted a racket as part of which spyware was installed in the phones of the victims through SMS to steal data.

Police said the four accused, one of whom is a qualified engineer, had duped several people of lakhs of rupees, adding they had access to thousands of mobile numbers belonging to people from across the country.

“The spyware, once installed, would not only give them access to financial details on the mobile devices but also the personal data of the victims. The police are investigating if the personal data was also misused by the accused,” said an official.

A senior officer said that the police department had recently received a complaint from a mobile service provider stating that a number of its customers had been duped.

“The customers had received a text message that read, ‘Dear XX User. Your tele-verification is pending please call our executive on Mob no XXXXXXX. Service will be stopped within 24 hours. Thanks XXX.’ Once the user clicked on the message, a spyware app ‘KYC QS’ was downloaded on their phones,” the official said.

“The app would then steal details from the users’ phones, including the banking app data and personal data, which the accused would then use to transfer money into their own accounts,” the official added.

Police suspect that thousands of people have been duped in this manner, adding transactions worth at least Rs 80 lakh have been detected so far. Apart from the financial transactions, the police are also interrogating the accused to find out what they did with the personal information of their victims.

Apart from the main accused, Ashok Mandal, the other accused have been identified as Ganesh Chhetri, Santosh Mandal and Jeetendra Mandal.

Based on their investigation, the police had traced the accused to Jharkhand and West Bengal from where they were arrested last week.

An officer said that some of the accused operated from Naxal-infested areas and it was a challenge to get their custody.

A senior official claimed that in recent years, they have found several cases of cyber crimes emerging from Naxal-infested areas where they allegedly receive protection in exchange of money.

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