Raids on three flats throw up laptops, data cards and documents

The Mumbai Police have arrested six Nigerian nationals and unearthed a “massive” online phishing racket that lured people into believing that they had won lakhs of pounds in prize money and made them shell out Rs. 4-5 lakh for getting these fictitious sum.

“The arrested are all residents of Mumbai. They stayed here at Aarey Colony. All of them are in their late 20s or early 30s,” Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy said at a press conference here on Monday.

Yoha Fred Jihan, 33, Tovy Evaka, 34, Yehike Enavhoro, 25, Amadin Jefferi, 31, Jarvis Nosa Lavani, 34, and Thiofelis Edemudia, 32, are in India on business visas. They had many legal documents such as PAN cards and driving licences in their names. They also signed several legal documents such as lease documents. A court has remanded them in police custody till January 12.

In the raids on three flats on December 31, the police seized 14 laptops, 15 data cards, seven pen drives, 23 mobile phones, printer, laptop cards, various forged documents of the Indian Customs, the Reserve Bank of India and foreign courts, and government and private company documents.

The accused have indulged in two types of cheating: “prize money scam” and “will scam.”

“These people have software generating e-mail ids and mobile numbers. They would randomly select them and send thousands of SMSes and e-mails every day,” Mr. Roy said.

A prize money scam message typically reads that a person has won £1 million through a lucky draw lottery from Coca Cola or ICC Cricket World Cup.

“When the person showed interest, these people used to send him forged certificates and documents with his name and address which said the amount had been awarded to him,” he said.

They would ask the victim to pay for legal processes in the United Kingdom such as tax clearance. Every time, they would send a certificate to make him believe that the amount was being processed. “Then they would demand another Rs. 1 lakh, saying the sum was deposited in the Reserve Bank of India, and they would need the money to legally bring the amount here,” Mr. Roy said.