THE MUMBAI Police arrested three persons for duping the NGO of film producer Ronnie Screwvala by allegedly spoofing his email address and fraudulently getting Rs 34 lakh transferred from the NGO’s account.
The police found Jigar Shah, one of the arrested accused, ran a retail milk business. Ketan Kanojia, another accused, was a tempo driver who supplied the milk. According to the police, Kanojia was facing a financial crunch, and Shah suggested him a “quick way” to earn money by opening bank accounts that would receive fraudulently transferred sums.
The third accused, Vishal Jaiswal, who was also facing a financial crunch, was lured into the scheme by Shah. The police are, however, looking for another accused who they suspect to be the kingpin of the scam. An officer said this man was on the fringes of the city until Tuesday but had now fled from there. The police also suspect that the spoofing could have been done by someone based abroad.
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Spoofing is the process of creating fake e-mail address of top executives, businessman and then using it to dupe their company. The accused persons then target lower rung employees of these executives by sending e-mails using these fake e-mail IDs and posing as their bosses.
The accused ask them to transfer money to account numbers provided by them. Assuming it to be sent by their bosses, the juniors transfer the money that is then withdrawn by the accused.
Screwvala’s NGO became the latest case of email spoofing when the accused sent an email to a top official of his NGO on
July 5 posing as the producer. In the e-mail, “Screwvala” asked the employee to transfer funds to a bank account. The official obliged and transferred Rs 20.20 lakh.
The fraudsters sent more such emails later. After the NGO had transferred over Rs 34 lakh, the junior employees asked Screwvala about the e-mails and realised the fraud. A complaint was then lodged with the Cyber police station.
“The arrested accused were asked to create nearly 20-25 bank accounts in their name. They were promised from 2-5 per cent of the total amount that would be transferred to their account. It was these accounts where the money was fraudulently transferred by the accused persons,” an officer said. The police found nearly 48 bank accounts and 146 debit cards from the accused persons.