From illiterates to holders of a Master’s degree, their profiles are varied, their educational backgrounds versatile and their ability to handle electronic gadgets astonishing. And there’s a common thread that ties them all together: their innate ability to scam people in the blink of an eye.
Chandigarh Police’s Cyber Cell has investigated a host of cheating cases that have taken place in UT, and officers say the suspects’ knowledge involved in the latest software/hardware technologies and their modus operandi to ensnare their victims left them stunned.
One example cited by Cyber Cell agents is that of 24-year-old suspect Allimudin Ansari from Deoghar in Jharkhand. Ansari was arrested by cyber cell for deceiving several people including Dr. Vipul Aggarwal from Chandigarh who was defrauded of Rs 40,000 in December 2019. Ansari, a school dropout, was arrested in February this year. He later confessed to fooling many people after luring them with his ability to speak fluent English, which he said he used to his advantage by posing as a service provider for several national banks.
Another case, in stark contrast to Ansari’s, is that of 29-year-old Nilutpal.
Nilutpal, an MSc (Computer Science) from Shillong University, was arrested by Cyber Cell for deceiving innocent women. Nilutpal’s shrewd modus operandi involved getting in touch with his suspects on Instagram and Facebook and posing as a RAW agent, who got hit on a secret mission and needed money for his family. He urged his victims to deposit the money in the bank account of his mother, who was none other than his accomplice in the crime.
Likewise, 27-year-old Kunal Singh as well as 21-year-old Mohammed Misbahu Haque are Class 8 passed out. They were arrested by Patna Cyber Cell detectives for cheating three Chandigarh-based men out of Rs 10 lakh after making them download a mobile app, ‘Anydesk’ (through which they were able to control their victims’ mobile device), in February this year.
“We have encountered many such people while investigating hundreds of cybercrime cases. The days when only technically skilled and educated people were involved in such crimes are over. Today, education is not a criterion for cybercriminals. We have arrested many people from Jamtara in Jharkhand, Nuh in Haryana and Tilak Nagar, Dwarka in Delhi and found their credentials to be minimal. One of the reasons educated people are increasingly drawn into the world of cybercrime is that it’s all about easy money. They don’t have to do hard work,” said Rashmi Yadav Sharma, Cyber Crime Cell DSP.
Sources said: “Suspects like Kunal Singh and Misbahu Haque were arrested after police followed the trail of their bank accounts into which Rs 10 lakh was transferred in installments. Kunal and Haque allegedly revealed that they were part of an organized gang and that they received 10% of each transaction made in their bank accounts.
Gurcharan Singh, director of cyber faculty at Central Detective Training School, said: “Cybercriminals are smarter than us. Technologies, and mobile applications, which are unknown to us, have been familiar to them for a long time. The Darkweb is an example. From my personal experience, we learned about the existence of the Darkweb very late, but criminals had been aware of it for a very long time.