A man and his brother-in-law were arrested on Tuesday for cheating several non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the last three-four months.
Shreyas Kotharia, 30, and his brother-in-law Parag Parab, 33, ran a syndicate across three continents—Asia (India), Europe and North America with the victims mostly from the US and the UK.
Roy said the duo was arrested after a two-month-long hunt launched by the crime branch, which had been inundated with complaints from several foreign banks. Joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy said the duo obtained valuable information about credit card/debit cardholders in the US and the UK through their contacts, suspected to be Nigerians. “These contacts obtained details of credit/debit cards of international holders by creating dummy web pages of banks and shopping web sites. They would then pass the details to Kotharia through SMSes. Kotharia would print these details on blank cards with a specialised software,” Roy said adding he also made duplicate PAN cards and driving licences (all in his name) to avoid raising suspicion. Shreyas and Parab used these duplicate cards to shop for electronic goods such as cameras, televisions, watches. “They’d never purchase anything over Rs1 lakh. Once the purchase was made, they would destroy the card,” he said.
The duped customer, who in most cases was from the US or UK, would receive an alert from the bank about the purchase in the dead of the night. “By the time customers realised the fraud the next morning and complained to the bank, a valuable 7-8 hours were gone,” he added.
Roy said Shreyas always chose Indian cardholders. Once the goods were purchased, the duo would sell them. “While 40% of the proceeds from the sale were retained by the duo, 30% went to their informers abroad while the remaining 30% was given to those who helped sell the goods,” Roy said adding that the police will seek deportation of the informers abroad while a hunt is on to track down the local contacts.
The Unit XI crime branch caught the duo from Inorbit mall at Malad (West) while they were shopping with another fake card.