DEHRADUN: The Special Task Force in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, arrested a notorious cyber criminal wanted by law enforcement agencies from 20 different states across the country. The criminal, identified as Mohammad Waqar, was arrested in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, as part of a massive operation that exposed a nationwide scam worth at least Rs 28 crore.
Deceptive Tactics to Swindle Innocent Victims
Waqar was a member of a fraudulent gang that employed various deceptive tactics to lure people into earning quick money. Their modus operandi involved creating fake websites of reputed companies and contacting unsuspecting individuals through WhatsApp, email, and telephone, while posing as HR representatives of these well-known organizations. They enticed victims with promises of earning substantial daily income, ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 8,000.
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Task Scam On Telegram
Victims were then coerced into downloading the Telegram app and joining a Telegram group where they were given tasks to like and subscribe to YouTube videos. In addition, the fraudsters encouraged victims to invest money in these videos to increase their profits, resulting in lakhs of rupees being swindled from innocent individuals looking to make money from home.
The Tale of a Deceived Victim
The case that led to Waqar’s arrest began when a complainant, Sunny Jain, was contacted through WhatsApp by individuals claiming to be HR representatives of a career builder company. They offered him a lucrative job opportunity, convincing him to download the Telegram app and join their group.
On June 25, 2023, Jain received a text message notifying him of a deduction of Rs. 30,000 from his account. An unknown individual had stolen money from Jain’s account on the same day. In total, Jain lost a staggering Rs 14,18,127 through two separate transactions. This prompted him to file an FIR (First Information Report) under Section 420 IPC and 66D IT Act at the Cyber Crime Police Station in Dehradun.
Inspector Devendra Nabiyal was assigned the investigation, which quickly led to the identification of the mobile number used in the incident. The investigation uncovered that the accused had duped Jain by offering the opportunity to earn money by liking and subscribing to YouTube videos.
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Operation Unveils a Nationwide Scam
With relentless effort and in-depth technical analysis, the police team uncovered additional co-accused individuals involved in the scam. One of them was Mohammad Waqar, who was arrested in Ludhiana, Punjab. The operation also led to the arrest of another co-accused, Harmeet Singh Bedi.
The accused individuals were found to have filed cases against victims under the guise of offering opportunities to profit by subscribing to YouTube video likes. They used fraudulent SIM cards, ID cards, and bank accounts in their criminal activities. The Telegram channel used to orchestrate the scam was operated from Dubai.
Waqar admitted to befriending people and creating fake accounts. The fraudulently obtained money was often invested in peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto trading, making it even more challenging to trace and recover the ill-gotten funds.
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The Perils of P2P Crypto Trading
One of the complexities in this case involved P2P crypto trading, where the origin and destination of cryptocurrency transactions are often difficult to trace. Criminals frequently sell crypto purchased with fraudulent funds to unsuspecting individuals, creating a complex web of transactions that make recovery efforts even more challenging.
A Scam of Massive Proportions
Preliminary analysis of the case suggests a staggering scam worth at least Rs 28 crore, with victims spread across 16 different states in India. The police are now on the hunt for additional accomplices in states like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, West Bengal, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana.
In the wake of this operation, law enforcement agencies are urging the public to exercise caution when approached with seemingly lucrative opportunities that promise quick and easy money, as the threat of cybercrime continues to loom large in the digital age.
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