Fraud loan racket busted for morphing clients' pictures through app, extorting money: Delhi Police

According to the police, the extorted money was routed to accounts in China, Hong Long, and Dubai by way of cryptocurrencies.

Published: 04th April 2022 01:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2022 01:16 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi Police

Delhi Police (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police have arrested eight people for allegedly extorting money from people using their morphed pictures obtained through a bugged loan app, officials here said.

The Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police busted the racket which allegedly offered loans through a mobile app, but in fact used the app to install a malware in the users' phone to access their private data.

In its investigation, police found that the app 'Cash Advance' (Danakredit), which was available for download on Play Store, offered loans to users, but its operators instead would use the app to hack users' data.

According to the police, the extorted money was routed to accounts in China, Hong Long, and Dubai by way of cryptocurrencies.

They said the eight accused were arrested from Delhi, Jodhpur, Gurugram, and other parts of the country.

The scam was exposed when a Delhi-based woman, a victim of the app, filed a complaint with the police alleging that she was being harassed by a few people for money.

The woman in her complaint said that she had taken a loan from Cash Advance app and had paid the money back.

But afterwards, she began getting calls for money from some people, who used abusive language with her and even sent her morphed pictures to her family and friends.

According to police, the woman alleged that one of the accused used picture of a senior IPS officer for his WhatsApp profile.

Police said that the app was used to install malware into the users' phone to get their details, contacts, and pictures, all of which would then be sent to a third party for extortion.

On the basis of the woman's complaint, a case was registered and the money trail of alleged transaction was figured out.

It was found that the money was being transferred to a current account opened in the name ‘Balaji Technology', a motorcycle repair shop, which was owned by one Rohit Kumar, a senior police officer said.

Police found that the account was used to funnel approximately Rs 8.45 crore in just 15 days to other accounts.

In all, police identified 25 more such accounts and froze them, he said.

Subsequently, raids were conducted on March 13 in Pitampura and Rohini from where police arrested four people involved in the scam, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO) KPS Malhotra said.

The accused were identified as Rohit Kumar, Vividh Kumar, Puneet, and Manish.

Their mobiles and other devices used in the crime were also recovered from them.

Later, two more accused, a man named Puneet Kumar and a woman, who remains unidentified, were arrested, along with one Krishna, who was identified as the mastermind of the whole operation, he said.

Krishna was arrested from Jodhpur in Rajasthan on March 14, police said.

Krishna, the mastermind in India, provided all the bank accounts to one Chinese national.

It was revealed that all extortion money was being sent to China through cryptocurrency by him.

"Crypto accounts of three Chinese nationals have been identified," the officer said.

Later, police arrested another accused, Sumit, from Gurugram.

Sumit ran the operation to make WhatsApp calls through a number obtained using fake documents.

When interrogated, he led the police to another accused, Kartik Panchal, whom he identified as the team leader of the operation.

Panchal too was arrested, police said.

"We found that Panchal was running a team of callers who used to make calls to the loan seekers. It was also found that the accused morphed and edited pictures of women and sent them to their contacts to extort money from them," Malhotra said.

The loan app brandished a fake NBFC agreement and privacy policy and attracted clients with special offers, he said.

"Eight accused have been arrested so far. More victims are being identified and the remaining members of the syndicate are being traced," the DCP said.

The officer said that the police have frozen about Rs 11 lakh across accounts , and have seized Rs 4 lakh in cash found on the accused.



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