New Delhi, September 13
The Delhi Police have arrested 10 people and apprehended two juveniles for allegedly cheating hundreds of people through e-commerce apps by posing as Army or paramilitary personnel, officials said on Sunday.
The accused exploited the trustworthiness associated with the armed forces to cheat potential buyers or sellers. They also shared fake screenshots to lure their targets into scanning malicious Quick Response (QR) codes, they said.
The accused, during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, had also cheated several people after putting advertisements on various social media platforms regarding home delivery of liquor.
On being approached, they would request the potential buyer to pay in advance and would stop responding to their calls once the money was received, police said.
“During investigation, the location of the accused was identified and raids were conducted, following which 10 of them were arrested,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Anyesh Roy said.
Those arrested were identified as Husban (22), Hasib (24), Faisal (19), Sajid (27) Sabir (25) Shezad Khan (26), Aziz Akhtar (25) and Sakir (29), all residents of Nuh district in Haryana, Yashvir (26), a resident of Faridabad, and Salim (35) from Rajasthan, they said.
Of the juveniles who were apprehended, one is from Rajasthan and the other belongs to Nuh, police said.
The accused used two modes to dupe people of their money.
Posing as Army or paramilitary personnel, they would post advertisements on e-commerce websites for sale of their goods, mostly cars and bikes. They would even post photographs of vehicles, mostly taken from the internet, that have either Indian Army or the name of a paramilitary force written on them, the DCP said.
After striking a deal with the prospective buyer, they would tell the victim that the vehicle they have chosen cannot be released unless the “release amount” is paid, which they claimed is a rule in the Army or paramilitary force, police said.
Once that amount is paid, they asked the victim to shell out more money on the pretext of transport and handling charges, GST, etc. After receiving the money, they cut off contact with the victim. The money was deposited either in a bank account or e-wallet account, Roy said.
In the second mode, the accused impersonated Army or paramilitary personnel while contacting the seller of any second-hand good on e-commerce sites.
Once the initial contact was established, they would agree to pay for the selected item. They would tell the target that the money is being transferred via e-wallet to their account and send them a fake screenshot generated with the help of a spoofing app, he said.
When the victim complains of not receiving the amount, the accused would site some technical problem and request him/her to scan another QR code to get the money credited into the account, Roy said.
Once the target scans the malicious QR code sent on his mobile, instead of getting the amount credited, it gets debited from their account, the DCP said.
After the victim complains of the debit, the accused would apologise saying it was a mistake and ask the target that they would send a new QR code by scanning which they can get twice the amount to make up for the money that was erroneously transferred from the victim’s account, police said.
As soon as the victim scans that QR code, the amount gets debited from their account again. After that, they would stop responding to the victim, they said.
SIM cards used in the crime were procured from Assam and Telangana.
The inability of the fraudsters to communicate in English has resulted in their impact being mostly limited to the Hindi-speaking states, the DCP said. PTI
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