Honey-trap victims’ accounts being used to move swindled money

Scammers sweet talk victims into sharing bank account details, say police officials
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unearthing a startling new pattern in cyber crime, the police have found that scamsters have started using honey-trapping methods to get hold of their victim’s bank accounts and transfer the swindled amount through them.

The new modus operandi came to the fore during a probe into the case in which Rs 3.65 lakh was swindled from a Thrissur native. Police had earlier detected that Cambodia-based financial scamsters were behind the operation, which was reported by TNIE. The police had arrested two people -- Mufliq and Vishnu -- in connection with the case.

During a subsequent probe, it was found that the swindled cash was transferred through several bank accounts to throw investigators off the trail. Two bank accounts involved in the transaction were identified and during further probe, it was found that one of them was that of a Keralite.

The investigation revealed that the account holder, hailing from Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram, was befriended by a female operative of the cyber crime racket. The woman, suspected to be a Keralite working in the scamming firm based out of Cambodia, sweet-talked the man and used his bank account to transfer part of the booty to another account.

An officer privy to the probe said Rs 1 lakh was deposited to the Varkala native’s account by the woman, who then transferred the whole amount to a third account. “The woman lured the man into letting her do the transaction via his bank account. He was not part of the racket and knew nothing about their operation. But as his bank account is involved in the crime, he has been arraigned as an accused,” said the officer.

Another account used for transactions was found to be that of a Cuddalore native. Police on Friday reached his place to record his statement. However, police sources said they cannot comment on how man’s bank account was obtained to circulate the swindled cash. “We can come to a conclusion only after taking his statement, “ said an officer.

Earlier, the cyber wing had uncovered the identity of around 50 Keralites, including women, who were working for Cambodia-based operators running online financial rackets. It was also found that some of the companies were owned and operated by Chinese nationals, who employ Keralites to target fellow compatriots.

Those associated with these firms mostly fell in the 20-30 age bracket and were responsible for collecting details of potential victims, procuring Indian SIM cards, and luring the gullible into investing money in fraudulent schemes.

The modus operandi of the scamsters had emerged during the interrogation of 22-year-old Mufliq. He was found to have helped the Cambodia-based handlers access Indian SIM cards. Based on his statement, a mobile shop owner, Vishnu, was arrested for having provided large number of SIMs procured by fraudulent means to Mufliq.

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  • The new modus operandi of scamsters came to the fore during probe into the case in which Rs 3.65 lakh was swindled from a Thrissur native

  • Police had earlier detected that Cambodia-based financial scamsters were behind the operation

  • Two people -- Mufliq and Vishnu -- were arrested in connection with the case

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The New Indian Express