A man (32) has been arrested from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh (UP) for allegedly using fake websites to con unsuspecting public by offering cheap mobile phones on easy equated monthly installments (EMIs), Delhi Police said on Wednesday.

Two mobile phones that were used in the crime were seized from the accused, while his two associates are still absconding, the police said.

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Jitender Singh, who holds an undergraduate degree in computer applications, has reportedly confessed to his alleged crime.

He along with his two accomplices had duped more than 2,500 people across the country in the past two years using fake websites and luring his gullible victims with cheap mobile phones and easy EMIs, said RP Meena, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) (south-east), Delhi Police.

“We are verifying his claims of cheating over 2,500 people. The bank accounts that the fraudsters used are being examined to ascertain the money transactions related to the scam. We have arrested Singh in one case that was being investigated by our district’s cyber cell team since January,” said DCP Meena.

An investigating officer (IO), who did not want to be named, said that initial analysis of one bank account has reflected around five deposits made by the victims for buying cheap mobile phones. “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 added.

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DCP Meena explained the gang’s modus operandi.

The fraudsters would create fake websites, where they promised mobile phones on rates cheaper than available market prices and also offered easy EMIs.

They would dupe a certain number of people and then deactivate the website. They would choose a new domain name for the website in a bid to avoid refund or delivery demands of the purchased mobile phones by their duped victims.

“They used to charge between Rs 1,999 and Rs 7,999 for each mobile phone. The prices were deliberately kept low in a bid to ensure that the victims would not approach police even after being conned. They only accepted payment through a virtual payment address (VPA) mechanism to make the detection of a financial transaction difficult,” added Meena.

On January 9, the DCP said, one Irfan Pathan filed a case at Govindpuri police station in south Delhi regarding a similar fraud.

Pathan alleged that last December while surfing online to buy a mobile phone, he came across a website that promised phones on cheaper rates and also offered easy EMIs.

“An executive of the website tricked him into depositing R 5,998 in three EMIs through a VPA. However, the fraudsters neither delivered the phone nor returned the amount. They deactivated the website and all their contact numbers. Pathan filed a complaint at Govindpuri police station in January after he was defrauded,” said Meena.

During the probe, the police collected details of the phone numbers that were linked to the website and were used to contact Pathan. 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 one Rajat Shukla.

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The details of the alleged VPA used by the fraudsters were obtained from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It was found that the VPA was registered with Shukla’s bank account through which the money was transferred to another account opened in the name of accused Singh, said the DCP.

“We arrested Singh from his home in Ghaziabad and seized two mobile phones used in the crime. Singh disclosed that Shukla and Praveen Kumar were his partners in crime,” said Meena.

“Raids are in progress to arrest the two absconding suspects,” the DCP added.

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