Even as the recent Netflix release Jamtara is gaining popularity among Indian viewers for its portrayal of phishing rackets, the DB Marg police have busted a similar racket in the city, which was being run by a native of the city in Jharkhand. The police have arrested three operatives of the main accused from Mumbai and seized 70 mobile phones bought with the proceeds of the crime.
According to the police, inquiries were first initiated into the racket when Anil Shah (73) registered a complaint saying that he had lost ₹1.7 lakh to a phishing racket. Officers said the racket made use of TeamViewer, an app that lets one person view another person’s phone screen as long as both the phones have the app and necessary permissions are enabled.
“Mr. Shah got a text message on December 17 saying that his Paytm wallet had been disabled as he had not updated his KYC data. The message had a number which he was supposed to call, and on calling, the person at the other end told him to download TeamViewer first so that his account could be enabled again,” an officer with the DB Marg police said.
The officer said acting on the accused’s instructions, Mr. Shah enabled permissions for the accused to view his cell phone screen. The accused had already obtained his account details, including his PIN number, for the “KYC update” process and initiated an online purchase. When the bank sent an OTP to Mr. Shah’s phone, the accused could view it through TeamViewer and used it to purchase cash vouchers from stores like Big Bazaar and Croma worth ₹1.7 lakh.
“We traced the digital footprint of the cash vouchers and zeroed in on the Big Bazaar outlet in Ghatkopar, from where the vouchers were used to purchase six cell phones. We then viewed CCTV footage of the store to identify the accused and kept a watch on the store. On January 6, we nabbed Narsi (23) and Nandkishore Suthar (26) when they came back to buy more cell phones,” the officer said.
Based on their interrogation, the police went on to arrest Pukhraj Suthar (23) from Lower Parel on January 7. The trio allegedly confessed that they would sell the cell phones to retail stores around the city at their market price. Over the next seven days, the police recovered 70 cell phones that the accused had sold. As the phones were still in their packing and the accused had proper bills, the retailers did not suspect that they were buying proceeds of a crime.
“The three have said they were working on the instructions of a mastermind based in Jamtara and efforts are under way to identify and apprehend him. We have also asked all other police stations in the city to notify us about any similar offences registered within their jurisdiction, so that we can check if the trio are involved in those cases as well,” the officer said.