New Delhi: A 32-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly using fake websites to cheat people by offering inexpensive mobile phones on equated monthly instalments (EMIs), accepting advances paid into bank accounts and not delivering the devices, the police said.Two of his associates are on the run.

Jitender Singh, who has a Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) degree, told the police that he and his associates had duped more than 2,500 people across the country, said deputy commissioner of police (south-east) RP Meena. Two mobile phones have been seized from Singh, who was arrested when.

“We are verifying his claims of cheating over 2,500 people. The bank accounts that the racketeers used are being examined to ascertain the money transactions related to the scam. As of now, we have arrested Singh in one case that was being investigated by our district’s cyber cell team since early this year,” the officer.

An investigating officer said an initial analysis of one bank account reflected four or five deposits by people for cellphones. “We will approach the depositors to know whether they had filed any police complaints regarding the cheating. Singh has told us that his gang used to dupe two or three persons daily,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.

DCP Meena said that the racketeers used to create fake websites on which they sold inexpensively priced cellphones at easy EMIs. After duping a certain number of people, they used to deactivate the website and shift its domain name to avoid demands for return of money or delivery of the phones.

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“They used to take only small amount — between Rs 1,999 and Rs. 7,999 — depending on the price of the phones, so that the victims do not approach the police even after being duped. Also, they only took money through virtual payment address (VPA) mechanisms to make the transaction’s detection difficult,” said Meena.

On January 9, a man named Irfan Pathan filed a case at the Govindpuri police station in Delhi, saying he had come across a website in December that offered cellphones that were cheaper than market prices and on EMIs.

“An executive of the website tricked him into depositing R 5,998 in three instalments through a virtual payment address.However, after taking the money the fraudsters neither delivered the phone nor returned the amount. They deactivated the website and all the contact numbers. Thereafter, Pathan filed a case,” said Meena.

During the probe, the police collected details of the phone numbers that were linked to the website and used to contact Pathan as well. The call details of one phone number revealed that it was registered with an e-commerce payment system site and a bank account in the name of Rajat Shukla.

Details of the VPA used by the gang were obtained from the National Payments Corporation of India. It was found that the VPA was registered with Shukla’s bank account, through which the money were transferred to another account in the name of Jitender Singh, said officer Meena.

“We arrested Singh from his home in Ghaziabad and seized two cellphones used in the crime. Singh disclosed that Shukla and Praveen Kumar were his partners in crime,” said Meena, adding that the police were conducting raids to catch the other two suspects.

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