30 accounts that handled ₹158 crore frozen by Bengaluru police for WFH scam

Based on a complaint by a person from BEL layout in Vidyaranyapura who lost ₹18.7 lakh online, a team of CCB officials tracked down the accused through the bank transactions

January 30, 2024 08:43 pm | Updated January 31, 2024 10:36 am IST - Bengaluru

The kingpin of the WFH scam is believed to be in Dubai, UAE.

The kingpin of the WFH scam is believed to be in Dubai, UAE. | Photo Credit: RAO GN

The Central Crime Branch officials unearthed a ‘work from home’ scam and arrested 11 people operating from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

The police claimed that 30 bank accounts, that have been frozen, have been flagged in relation to 2,143 cases across 28 States, including 265 in Karnataka, on the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCRP). Transactions worth ₹158 crore were carried out in these accounts.

The city police recovered ₹62.8 lakh, apart from 11 mobile phones and 15 SIM cards from the accused. The accounts were linked to 135 cases across 14 police stations in Bengaluru city. The police have arrested four persons from the city, who were involved in opening the bank accounts.

Based on a complaint by a person from BEL layout in Vidyaranyapura who lost ₹18.7 lakh online, a team of CCB officials led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Abdul Ahad, tracked down the accused through the bank transactions.

How the WFH scam worked

According to the police, the accused would message random numbers on WhatsApp and Telegram apps, posing as HR personnel from well-known companies offering work-from-home jobs for extra income. The accused offered simple tasks — to like and follow social media accounts and YouTube videos — to whoever responded and initially offered them quick returns.

“This is a bait for gullible people. They are lured into a fake investment scheme promising very high returns. Initially, on a few small investments, victims are given double returns, pushing them to make a big investment, following which the criminals often turn incommunicado,” explained Bengaluru Police Commissioner B. Dayananda.

“The accused had been operating for the past one year. The racket was a well-layered organised crime syndicate. All the accused had been assigned roles, and some have been suspected to be operating from abroad. While the amount that was siphoned-off runs to several hundred crores, the recovery amount will be lesser. This is because the accused would withdraw the cash as soon as it landed in their bank accounts. We are contemplating identifying the property of the accused for seizure and recovery,” Mr. Dayananda said.

Those arrested are operators who called and messaged people on a commission basis.

Explaining the modus operandi, a senior official said that the four accused went to Hyderabad and opened bank accounts in different banks with temporary local addresses, and permanent addresses of Bengaluru. The account details were later handed over to a man identified as Abbas Ali in return for a commission.

The details were then sent to Abbas Ali’s contacts in Mumbai through a private courier. The Mumbai sub-operator would hand over the details to the main operator, who acted at the behest of the kingpin, who is believed to be in Dubai, UAE.

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