In multiple instances reported from New Alipore and the Port area, a gang of pickpockets is snatching mobile phones through the windows of waiting buses and local trains.
They are then accessing the UPI apps – where passwords have been saved by the owners – installed in the phone to siphon money.
“I was returning from my office at Behala. I was sitting by the window of the bus, busy typing a message on my phone. The accused, who stood outside the window, suddenly snatched the phone and ran away before I could even react. Within 15 minutes, Rs 42,000 was debited from my account,” said Ghosh.
The victim came to know of the loss only after he got another phone and SIM card. Ghosh has now lodged two separate police complaints – one at New Alipore PS for the loss of the mobile phone and the other at the Bidhannagar Cyber Cell for the money that has been lost. “I do not keep passwords saved in mobile phones. I am certain it has been hacked,” he claimed.
A general diary has been registered and police are examining CCTV footages to identify the suspects involved in the crime.
“The bank could not identify a point of compromise. To them, it looked like the PIN had been entered. The only thing they could suggest was that someone knew the code,” said an investigating officer.
The losses are no longer limited to the loss of the stolen mobile phone alone, said investigators.
“Even pickpockets are now getting acquainted with cybercrimes and there is every possibility that your personal details stored in your mobile phone will be misused if it gets stolen or misplaced,” said a senior detective department officer.
Criminals are now stealing mobile phones not for the device but to try and access finance apps to steal money in thousands, said the city police.
Cops have now asked all mobile phone users not to keep passwords saved in their mobile phones in a manner that can be seen by everyone. Cops have stressed on the need to have a PIN or biometric authentication on mobile devices.
Watch Man loses phone, Rs 42,000 vanishes from bank account within 15 minutes