Telangana

Gang siphoning off bank account money busted

A gang of seven persons who devised an elaborate method to withdraw money from bank accounts without the knowledge of account holders were caught by Cyberabad police. Their method involved using cloned fingerprints to authenticate in online banking platforms. They have gathered over 10,000 fingerprints!

Mastermind of the offence Nallagalla Venkateshwarlu, is a resident of Beeramguda. The six others were assigned other tasks, which were all put together to siphon money.

Their elaborate procedure begins with downloading land registration documents from IGRS portal of Andhra Pradesh. The documents were used to collect name, Aadhaar number and fingerprints. Using butter paper, polymer, chemicals, nail polish, dryer machine, the fingerprints were impressed upon a polymer (rubber). The next task was to find the bank in which a person —whose details they have gathered — holds the account, and find the amount in it.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner M Stephen Raveendra said that Easy Pay application was used to find the linked bank accounts and balance in those bank accounts. This step involved trial and error method. The fraudsters used to enter names of different bank names to find the bank to which the Aadhaar number is linked.

All the details such as name, Aadhaar number, bank name, were used again to register in Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS)-which is also called as micro ATMs. People can withdraw money, deposit money, check balance using this service. Fingerprint on polymer were used for authentication here.

E Point India application was used to withdraw money — it was transferred to bank accounts opened by the gang.

At a press conference held here on Thursday, Mr Stephen Raveendra, Kalmeshwar Shingenavar, DCP Crimes (Cyberabad), K Srinivas, police inspector, have explained how the gang operated.

Venkateshwarlu was the mastermind of the offence who used to download the land registration documents. He had vast experience in banking, lands and registration sectors.

How was it unearthed?

All of this was unearthed after a complaint was lodged with the police by owner of E-Point India, based in Alwal.

The complainant took franchise from Roinet Solutions Pvt. Ltd., and white labeled his franchise as ‘E-point India’. His job is to appoint the Business Correspondent Agents by taking Aadhaar Card, PAN card, Bank Passbook copies. Venkateshwarlu was one of the agents.

The agents can provide Mini Bank services to the needy customers of all banks with AePS. The complainant’s company provides the user ID and passwords to the agents to provide the services of bill payments, money withdrawal and transfer through their ‘E-point India’ app.

Chinks in online services

The Cyberabad police have flagged loopholes in some of the online services used by the accused. They have said that IGRS portal may be maintained in a secure way, where random people should not be allowed to view or download land registration documents.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was requested to issue guidelines to Digital payment Applications (AEPS) mandating proper KYC verification of agents. Also, the police have requested RBI to issue guidelines to Digital payment Applications (AEPS) mandating multi-factor authentication method.

Besides, Department of Telecom was requested not to allow two SIM activations on the same day with different modes of KYC.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 12:13:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/gang-siphoning-off-bank-account-money-busted/article65534197.ece