Chandigarh, July 7
With the arrest of two Nigerian men from Delhi, the Cyber Crime Cell of the Punjab police busted an international cyber fraud racket wherein imposters were using profile pictures and names of VVIPs on their WhatsApp profiles to dupe government officials and common people, said Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav here on Thursday.
The modus operandi used by imposters was sending personal WhatsApp messages to innocent people, mostly government officials, asking for financial favours in the form of Amazon gift cards, Paytm or any other digital payment method.
In the last few months, fraudsters have duped numerous people by impersonating Cabinet ministers, Punjab DGP, Punjab Chief Secretary and other IAS/IPS officers.
With these arrests, the Punjab police have dug up a trail leading to deep-rooted cyber fraud nexus spreading from Delhi and involving many Nigerian and a few Indian associates, the DGP said.
Those arrested have been identified as Anioke Hyginus Okwudili alias Poka and Franklyn alias William, both residents of Lagos in Nigeria and currently residing in Delhi.
The police have seized a Canara Bank debit card, various gadgets, mobile phones, laptops, watches and passports.
Inspector-General of Police (Cyber Crime) RK Jaiswal said after an investigation and information from WhatsApp, the state cyber cell got some leads following which three police teams were constituted and assigned tasks of financial, technical and fieldwork to nab the accused.
He said the teams under the supervision of Deputy Superintendent of Police (Cyber Crime) Samarpal Singh comprising of two inspectors and other police personnel were sent to Delhi.
The IGP said that the police teams in a joint operation with the Delhi police managed to catch the accused Poka red-handed while he was withdrawing money from an ATM located near Vikas Puri in New Delhi.
During interrogation, Poka revealed that WhatsApp accounts were hacked from Nigeria and he used to withdraw money from the ATM cards of bank accounts opened using fake documents in different parts of the country. He used to handover the money to William who further electronically transferred the money to Nigeria.
The police teams also arrested William.
Teams of the state Cyber Crime Cell had conducted raids in Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jind and Alwar.
Information containing screenshots of the allegedly impersonated IDs and transactions has been sent for forensic analysis for probe into drug linkage, Hawala transactions and modus operandi of the entire realm of operations, said DIG (Cyber Crime) Nilambari Jagadale.
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