Mumbai: A Matunga-based woman was recently defrauded of over ₹1 lakh after receiving a part-time job offer from a bogus company via Instagram. What surprised the police in the case was how the arrested suspect were actually small fish in the big cybercrime network and were, in fact, handed out tasks to give out tasks to gullible people.
The matter surfaced when the complainant, Sukanya Parab, 26, received a message on Instagram from a purportedly well-known US-based multinational company offering part-time jobs. After giving details about her job requirements and duty, the person asked her to ‘register’ on a bank account link sent via Telegram. Believing everything was genuine, Parab clicked on the link, registered as asked, and lost ₹1.22 lakh from her bank account.
Two suspects arrested
Based on the mobile phone numbers used between the suspect and the complainant, the location was somewhere within the police jurisdiction. The cops even traced the bank accounts to which the money was transferred. Two suspects were arrested on April 25 from the Sion area – Surajsingh Bhavarsingh, 31, and Devi Singh Raval, 36 – both residents of Nalasopara, Palghar.
During the interrogation, the police found out that in this ‘task fraud’ even the accused were being given ‘tasks’ by their superiors. Explaining this specific modus operandi, a police officer from the cyber team of Matunga police said, “They are allotted tasks such as renting a room, arranging laptops/computers, internet, and creating bank accounts, and social media accounts. For these tasks, they are paid ₹2,000 to ₹7,000. If at all, like in this case, we arrest the small fish, we can seldom reach the big bosses actually organising the crime. This type of crime is called an organised crime with infinite links or chains above them.” He also mentioned that some members also got ‘tasks’ to play the role of ‘bank operators’ or ‘recruiters’ who would communicate with their victims.
Meanwhile, with the help of the two suspects, the police managed to arrest the third key suspect. Hailing from Ajmer in Rajasthan, Vinodkumar Agarwal, 45, a lawyer by profession, managed the ‘legal’ matters in this cyber fraud. The police arrested Agarwal on April 28. He had three mobile phones and five debit cards in his possession which he used for the crime.
The probe to find out details of Agarwal’s “boss” is currently on, said the police; however, they are almost pessimistic about discovering the higher chain in this cyber syndicate. All the accused were presented in court which remanded them to police custody till May 8 to cooperate with further investigation.