Cyber criminals using an intermediary local bank account are mostly successful at evading the law. In such cases, the cyber police manage to follow the money trail only up to the locals who let their accounts be used, and arrest them.
A victim of cyber crime usually realises he or she has been cheated only a few weeks or months after the money is transferred, an officer from the cyber crime investigation cell of the Mumbai police said, requesting anonymity.
“By the time we trace the account to which the money has been transferred and arrest the local who opened the account, the scamster operating from abroad would have already transferred the money from the local’s account, withdrawn it and closed his account, leaving behind no trace of his involvement,” said the officer.
Questioning the locals does not yield any leads, as they at most know the person who approached them.
“The locals form the last link in the chain and are not aware about the others involved in the scam, leading to the main accused. They don't even know the money in their account has been transferred abroad,” said the officer.
Well aware that the intermediary account holder will be tracked down, even those employed by the scamster to approach the local do not reveal their identity, so that the local cannot lead the police to the accused.
“Ultimately, it is only the local account holders who end up facing the law, because of greed and despite sensing they are getting involved in a scam. At most, in some cases, we manage to track down the other links in the chain that operate within the country. Tracking down an accused located in some other country is a difficult task,” the officer said.