RANCHI: Two words most young people in eastern Jharkhand are wary of using in their everyday speech is “fake SIM”. They are aware of the infamy the spiraling scourge of cybercrime has brought to this part of the country and also the constant watch by police on the activities of cybercrime gangs.
After turning the eastern district of Jamtara, bordering West Bengal, into a nationally notorious hub of cybercrime, scores of active gangs are now busy setting up units in other districts of the state and using newer ways to carry on the fraud.
Three other districts – Deoghar, Dumka and Giridih – are currently on the radar of the cybercrime cell of the state police, said officials. There has been a distinct rise in activities of fraudsters’ gangs in these three districts. Many of the ordinary men known as “experts in mobile fraud” in Karmatar, the Jamtara town that has been a hub of cybercrime for the past few years, are reportedly imparting training to unemployed youth in these districts.
As many as 24 raids were conducted by police in Deoghar, Dumka and Jamtara districts in January and 43 people engaged in cyber frauds were arrested. Police seized 200 mobile phones, 400 SIM cards and five laptops during the raids.
“We have detected nearly 500 bank accounts used by the cyber conmen in Jamtara and neighbouring districts. Most of these accounts are opened by ordinary people to receive welfare funds, but the criminals are using these accounts,” said Akhilesh Kumar Jha, DIG of Santhal Pargana range.
A probe by the cybercrime cell of police has found that the fraudsters are paying a fixed monthly sum of about Rs 2,000 each to poor and illiterate people having accounts in public sector banks in order to use their identity for the crime. In a few cases, the account holders themselves have been found involved.
“With the crackdown on cyber fraud in Jamtara district continuing, the conmen have moved their operations to several other districts. They are also using fake SIM cards procured from West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha trying to avoid police,” said Sunil Bhaskar, SP (cyber crime) in Ranchi.
Between October last and January, 101 cybercrime cases were registered in Jamtara, 73 in Deoghar and 17 in Dumka. Of the 234 people arrested in these cases, 209 were held in Jamtara district alone.
Bengaluru seems to be a favourite destination for hackers based in Jharkhand. As many as 22 bank accounts in the Karnataka capital were hacked in January first week and more than Rs 5 lakh was stolen by hackers operating from Jharkhand, said an official.