Police net youth for cyber crime

KOTTAYAM, MAY. 20. In what appears to be one of the first instances of its kind, the Kottayam police today arrested a 26- year-old man for engaging in cyber crime. According to Mr. S. Suresh Kuamr, Sub-Inspector, Kottayam West police station, Arun Eapen Mathew was held for purchasing articles using credit cards of other people, mostly foreigners, through e-commerce channels.

The police version of the story is as follows: Mathew, an engineer by profession and drawing a five figure salary at a private concern in Ernakulam, had a chance encounter with a person who introduced himself as ``happy'' at the Yahoo Chat Room, nearly a year ago. The real identity of ``happy'' is yet to be known.

But it appears that the person is a student who is working as a front desk officer at Hotel Sheraton at Pittsburgh in the U.S., the police said. It is also believed he (happy) is a hawker who has created a website www.nudevirus.com which provides one with a list of credit card numbers of the super-rich who happened to visit the hotel where he is working.

As the friendship progressed, Mathew got a surprise gift from `happy'. The chatroom friend also provided Mathew with the modus operandi of as to how he managed to send such gifts to his friends. Anyone can enter www.nude virus.com through a69 happy@yahoo and order gifts of his or her choice to the e- commerce chains. That too using the credit cards of the super- rich.

Mathew started using the modus operandi himself, later and according to police, they have not yet ascertained the real magnitude of the crime.

The police got the tip off when some of the courier services complained about the large number of consignments being send back by Mathew. This happened when he had to pay huge amount as duty. According to the police, Mathew used to give false addresses to the courier services along with his mobile phone number. Tracing the mobile too was difficult as he used the pre-paid cards.

The success in tracing him came when the police, true to Kerala Police style, used the down-to-earth technique. When a new consignment arrived in the name of Mathew, they informed him over the new mobile number and waited patiently for long 16 hours at the gates of the courier company and nabbed him physically.

The detention of the cyber crime has brought to light the fallacy of the security of credit cards; it is also pointed out that the crime was being operated at three levels: misusing the credit cards, cheating the e-commerce firms and cheating the courier firms.

Though the police have arrested the culprit, they are still in the dark about the follow up action as laws regarding cyber crimes are yet to be formulated in the country.

Meanwhile, they are getting in touch with their counterparts in other places, both inside and outside the nation.