The Delhi Police have arrested four suspects including two Nigerians for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting victims on social media on the pretext of giving expensive gifts.
The accused identified as Sachin Rai (36), Zigmi Lama (29) and two Nigerians, Smith Henry (36) and Wisdom Okafor (35) were arrested on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.
Police said that the accused created fake profiles on Facebook and approached people for friendship. After that they start chatting with them through International WhatsApp numbers.
According to police, once they gain confidence of the victims, they offer partnership in their business and in the meantime, they offer them parcel of valuable items as gifts.
Later, they approach the victim saying they are excise department officials calling from the Airport Authority. Then they demand money to get their parcel released, and immediately withdraw money from the ATM machines after receiving the money in their accounts from the victims.
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A detailed probe was initiated after a 62-year-old woman registered a complaint and was duped of Rs 27 lakh using the same modus operandi, police said.
The complainant, who happens to be a professor, reported that she received a friend request from an unknown person on her Facebook account.
The person who used the profile picture of a woman mentioned on the profile that she was from the United Kingdom.
Later, the person shared an international WhatsApp mobile number with the complainant, and the two started chatting. After a few days, the person offered her valuable gifts, among them an Apple i-Phone and a gold-plated wristwatch.
According to the complainant, the same person also sent her a video of the packaging and receipts of the delivery parcel to win her confidence.
After a few days, the complainant said she received a call, during which a person said he was from the Excise Department and duty charges needed to be paid for releasing the gift items.
On this pretext, the complainant paid a total amount of Rs 27 lakh. However, she later sensed that he had cheated and lodged a complaint. Accordingly, a case was registered at Cyber Police Station South.
Over the course of the investigation, the cyber crime team quizzed the complainant for more details. They learned that the complainant had received the friend request on Facebook but started chatting with the fraudsters on WhatsApp. All the interactions happened on these two social media platforms.
Deputy commissioner of police (South) Chandan Chowdhary said that during investigation, it emerged that the stolen money was transferred to various bank accounts in different cities.
The team started collecting the details of the accused from Facebook and WhatsApp. The details of the bank accounts in which the money was deposited were also analysed.
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The investigating team used technical surveillance and manual information to zero in on the location of one suspect, Sachin Rai, and he was successfully apprehended.
During interrogation, Sachin disclosed that he used to sell activated bank accounts to Nigerian nationals.
Following sustained interrogation, Sachin revealed that he and one of his friends, an associate, were going to sell another bank account in the GTB Enclave area.
The probe team swung into action, and, with the help of technical surveillance and human intelligence, the location of the accused was narrowed down.
Multiple raids followed, and after an overnight chase, the three accused persons, including the Nigerian kingpins, were apprehended.
During interrogation of the fraudsters and analysis of the recovered digital devices and instruments, it was found that the accused opened multiple bank accounts that were used to cheat innocents.
“Through analysis of the recovered digital devices and instruments, it was found that the accused persons had opened a lot of bank accounts in many banks and the bank accounts were supplied to the Nigerian nationals which was used to cheat people,” she added.
One laptop charger, eight mobile phones, six keypads, mobile phones, SIM cards, chequebooks, ATM cards, and passbooks were recovered from the accused.
The police have registered cases under Sections 420, 120 (B), and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Cyber Police Station, Saket.