Last Updated IST
Bengaluru: CCB sleuths recently busted a cyber scam gang that used mule bank accounts to launder Rs 854 crore that had been obtained from its various cyber crimes. The mule accounts served as conduits for temporarily parking the money, investigators said.
About 84 mule accounts served as a conduit between the victims’ accounts and the scammers’ primary account. This is because fraudsters conduct a series of transactions before the money reaches the primary account to evade detection.
The accounts creating the bridge between the victim’s account and the scamster’s account are termed “mules”.
Raman Gupta, Additional Commissioner of Police (East), revealed that homemakers in rural areas, the poor, autorickshaw drivers, and drunkards are being used to create the mules. Scammers target these gullible individuals and entice them with money to obtain their details and create an account.
“They entice people with government schemes and freebies, posing as bank officials and prompt them to open an account,” Gupta said. “They remain with them until the creation of the account and keep the credentials with them.” They then use the money and the accounts to channelise the amount.
When victims sent money to the scammer, the fraudsters transferred it to multiple accounts so that there is no suspicion leading to freezing of the account. This had made it tough for the police to trace them.
All accounts used by the scammers are mules, police revealed. If victims contact the helpline, efforts are made to freeze the amount in the bank. When victims file complaints, police trace account details to catch the scamster. To avoid this, the gang created multiple mule accounts.
In most cases, Gupta said scamsters buy accounts for a good sum. He also pointed at instances where they borrowed accounts from traders with cash-intense accounts.
An investigating officer with the cybercrime wing said that banks should run strict security checks before creating accounts.
“But security checks are breached due to extreme pressure on employees asked by their (private) banks to bring more accounts. Scamsters exploit such loopholes in the banking system,” police said.
Police highlighted challenges in obtaining details from private banks for cybercrime cases, stating it takes six to 10 days to acquire necessary information.
Gupta said the police are currently communicating with the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) for guidance and capacity building. “We are suggesting that I4C push the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to tighten the rules on banks,” he said.
Bengaluru City Police Commissioner B Dayananda said the police department regularly conducts meetings with nodal officers of private banks to foster coordination. “There is a need for coordination between banks and the police department to tackle cybercrimes. The constant meetings are helping to streamline certain processes,” said Dayananda.
Accounts creating a bridge between the victim’s and the scamster’s accounts are termed “mules”.