17 people arrested for cyber fraud in Bihar’s Purnia so far this year: Police
Police said four FIRs have been registered with the Kasba and Amaur police stations in Purnia, which was once notorious for smuggling of narcotics and fake Indian currency notes
The Purnia police in Bihar have said that they have arrested 17 people and registered four separate first information reports (FIRs) in cyber fraud cases so far this year, which have created a new concern for them.
The cases have been registered with the Kasba and Amaur police stations in Purnia, which was once notorious for smuggling of narcotics and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
The police teams have recovered a large number of smartphones, ATM cards, rubber clones of fingerprints, Aadhaar numbers, printers, scanners, stamp machines, laptops, chemicals and other materials from the houses and offices of arrested persons.
“The arrested persons were involved in downloading the fingerprints, biometrics and Aadhaar numbers of buyers and sellers from the property registration documents of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana governments,” said an officer, who did not wish to be named.
“Cloning fingerprints, they withdrew money through Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) from various bank accounts. The three states they targeted have free access to download registry and agreement papers from the government sites, though it is not available online in Bihar. That is why, the fraud was not committed in Bihar, but in other states,” he said.
“They had developed an ecosystem. The fraudsters printed the finger print on rubber trace paper and with the help of a polymer stamp machine and heating at a certain temperature with a chemical, they used to create duplicate finger print used in illegal financial transactions from the bank accounts of many customers,” said an officer.
“A month ago, a team of Haryana police visited Jalalgarh locality and arrested a person identified as Domar Vishwas and took him with them on transit remand,” said Purnia superintendent of police (SP) Amir Javed.
During questioning, the arrested accused revealed that they had learnt hacking and cloning techniques from Jamtara in Jharkhand and West Bengal. They procured the equipment required for making cloned fingerprints from online shopping websites. Besides, they also procured biometric machine, rubber thumb impression printer, polymer liquid, temperature modulator and other chemicals.
Subsequently, they checked whether the Aadhaar number is linked to a bank account and after short listing Aadhar-linked bank accounts, they created online accounts on any platform by submitting fake documents without anybody suspecting any foul play, police said.
“Once an online account was created, they logged into any payment app to initiate a transaction using the biometric device and the cloned fingerprint,” said additional director general (ADG) of police (headquarters) Jitendra Singh Gangwar.
The Economic Offence Unit (EoU) of the Bihar police aided the Purnia police in probing the matter, Gangwar said, adding the Telangana police was also in touch with them over similar frauds committed in their state.
“EoU has informed the India Cyber Crime Co-ordination Centre of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the racket. To date, Purnia’s gang has not committed any AEPS crime in Bihar,” he said.
A police officer, who is part of the investigating team, said that the fraudsters could withdraw only ₹10,000 in a single attempt from an account. “So, they carried out multiple transactions in a short span of time and withdrew large amounts from different accounts. The money was transferred to their bank accounts from these digital wallets. Most of the time, many victims did not register the matter due to the late realisation or small amounts. Those who lost big amounts lodged complaints with the police,” he said.