Six persons, including five Nigerian nationals, arrested

The city police on Friday busted an international phishing racket with the arrest of six persons, including five Nigerian nationals, who allegedly hacked bank accounts of more than 100 people.

Two laptops, three internet data cards, six ATM cards, six mobile phones, 20 SIM cards, a car and three Nigerian passports were recovered from the arrested persons -- Sunny Uche Uzoma (35), Michael Animba (27), Onyegbuna Udochukwu (35), Nwazonobi Amaeze Obed (40) and Tinuola Yussuf Olatunji (37), all Nigerians along with Prabhu Jayadeep Patvari (23) from Mumbai.

The gang was also wanted by the police in Delhi, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma told media persons here on Friday.

Explaining the modus operandi, Mr. Sharma said accomplices of the Nigerians in India would come to a city and enter into a rental agreement with property owners. Using fake documents they would apply for a landline phone connection and after getting the phone bill, they would use it to open a savings bank accounts.

The gang members would later apply for a trade licence from the Labour Department. After getting the trade licence, they would open current accounts. With the help of their associates in India, the gang would send emails containing fake bank pages to lakhs of people. “Many fell into the trap and sent their online banking details,” Mr. Sharma said.

The gang then used to accesses the bank details of customers. The Nigerians would target accounts having huge cash and pass on the details to their accomplices in India who would transfer the funds using fake ID to the accounts created earlier fraudulently.

After deducting their commission, the accomplices here would transfer the remaining amount to the Nigerian nationals who would buy clothes and return to their country by ship. “Connivance of a few officials coupled with superficial checking by bank officials, labour department and service providers is leading to this problem,” the Commissioner said.

The accused, Prabhu Jayadeep Patvari, managed to secure 154 SIM cards in three months and the gang was also able to open 38 accounts fraudulently in the city.

The police also managed to stop money transfer of Rs.61 lakh by alerting a nationalised bank but the gang managed to withdraw Rs.5 lakh using a cheque.

The fraud came to light when branch manager of Sanghvi Corporation, Kailash Nath Seth, complained to the police that Rs.5 lakh was fraudulently transferred to a Kanpur PNB account. He gave two phone numbers from which an unidentified person claiming to be a bank employee took a password from him. With this information, the police first caught Patvari and later the five others.

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