‘Tech-help’ gang in police net for fraud

Accused cheated foreigners by accessing credit card details under the pretext of offering technical services

Published: 14th January 2022 04:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2022 04:35 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Cyberabad Cyber Crime sleuths on Thursday arrested seven persons, including the kingpin and four others based in Hyderabad, on charges of cheating foreigners by accessing their credit card details under the pretext of offering technical services. 

The fraud came to light after employees of HDFC Bank noticed a few suspicious transactions involving one of the bank’s customers named Healthy Dental Clinic. The bank brought it to the notice of Cyberabad Cyber Crime police who then began investigating and finally zeroing the fraudsters. 

The police said that one of the accused Naveen Bhutani from New Delhi utilised his experience of providing technical assistance to foreign customers by activating three call centres in Janakpuri of New Delhi, Kaishambi of Ghaziabad and Mohali of Punjab. 

He utilised the services of the four accused based in Hyderabad. Of these four, Srinivas and Nagraj, who are software developers, built websites and linked them with payment gateways while the bank accounts of Pavan and Shravan were used to deposit the money accessed from the customers. 

The quartet, after taking commission charges, transferred the amount to Mohit and Monu based in Delhi who in turn would finally send it to Bhutani after deducting their share of the proceeds. Revealing the modus operandi of the gang, the police said that they used fake messages and fake technical issues run through Google Adwords to dupe their customers. 

In the first instance, the gang created websites that offered antivirus software and lured customers by providing a toll-free number. Google Adwords led the victims to the website and offering to troubleshoot the technical issues, the gang used to take control of the customers device and transfer money into their accounts. 

Another approach was to send a fabricated message to customers. A sample message reads, ‘Security Alert- We have noticed that your card was recently used on 02-07-2021 12:59, at for $2559.99 If not you Please call 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx.’ The victims ended up revealing the card and account details which the gang used to empty their bank accounts. 

Gateway loophole helped scamsters?

It appears the offenders utilised a loophole in the payment gateways, wherein the servers only ask for verification and don’t cross verify the customers, helped the scamsters commit the crime.

Cyberabad CP Stephen Raveendra said: “The payment channels work only for revenues and are failing to cross-verify the applicants. The gang targeted those in UK, Singapore and Australia and made the transactions mostly during night hours, leaving the victims no scope to drop a complaint. The fraudsters were changing the toll-free numbers frequently.” It is suspected that the details of the customers were accessed from the dark web


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