TWO PERSONS, including a Nigerian national, were arrested by the Mumbai cyber cell Friday for their alleged involvement in a scam in which a Worli- based pharmaceutical company was duped of Rs 38 lakh. The police suspect the involvement of the duo in other fraud cases too. So far, Rs 9 lakh of the money siphoned off by the accused has been recovered. An officer said that in March last year, the pharma company was to receive Rs 38 lakh from a Chinese company for goods it had supplied. The Worli-based company had been communicating with the Chinese company through its e-mail ID firstname.lastname@example.org. A few days before the company was to transfer the money to the account of the Worli company, they received an e-mail purportedly sent by the company, but with a slight change in the e-mail address.
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“Instead of “email@example.com”, the original e-mail address, the Chinese company received an e-mail from “firstname.lastname@example.org” stating that the account number where the money had to be transferred had been changed,” said an officer from Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC). “They then provided an account number of another bank where the money was duly transferred by the Chinese company,” the officer said. When the Worli-based company did not receive the payment, they contacted the Chinese company, which said the money had been transferred. Over a period of time the two companies realised that they had been duped as the account number where the money was to be sent had not been changed.
By the time the police checked the account where the money was transferred, the cash had been withdrawn.The CCIC that began a probe in the matter and arrested two persons in November, who had allowed their bank accounts to be used for the fraudulent transfer. “During interrogation of the duo, we found that they were mule account holders, basically people who allow their accounts to be used for such fraudulent transfers. The main accused withdraws the money and gives them 5 per cent of the total amount,” the officer said.
The police had been on the lookout for the main accused Marcus Agaichi (31), who was eventually arrested from his Nallasopara residence on Friday. Following that, the police also arrested one Abid Ali for his alleged involvement. “Agaichi along with others hack into accounts of companies that normally have international dealings. They wait till there is communication about payment. They then create a similar looking ID by changing one alphabet to dupe the companies. This scam, called “man in the middle scam” has been on the rise in the past few months,” the officer added.