By Parvesh Sharma
Gurugram, Aug 27 (IANS) Haryana’s minority-dominated Nuh, which is the most backward district of the state, is fast gaining notoriety for being a hub of organised cybercrime activities, particularly in the form of phishing scams, targeting people from all across the country.
Nuh’s “Jamtara module” fraud usually involves a group of scamsters who pose as representatives of legitimate companies.
The cybercriminals, who are in the age bracket of 18-35 years, normally work as a group of 3-4 persons.
A few handfuls of people in a village help to set up fake bank accounts, get fake SIM cards, mobile phones, cash withdrawal/disbursal and technical services such as posting an advertisement on social media websites after charging their commission fees ranging from 5 per cent to 50 per cent of the fraud amount.
The source of fake SIMs and bank accounts is mainly linked to Bharatpur district in neighbouring Rajasthan, as per police.
According to the police, most youngsters of the district are indulging in cybercrime by using stolen high-end phones. Most interestingly, most of the hackers have studied only up to Class 12, while some are even illiterate.
Some also have rewards on their heads.
According to the police, illiterate youths, who were involved in vehicle theft, phone snatching, cattle smuggling and other crimes, shifted to cybercrime during the past two years after being “trained” in such activities.
The police investigation also revealed that most of the youth arrested by the police in Nuh were trained in the villages of Jurehera and Ghamdi in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur.
The two villages, located on the Haryana-Rajasthan border, have emerged as the “cybercrime training hub”.
Police said that the accused revealed the training comprises how to trap a person with communication skills and what are the precautions to be taken while making a person a victim of cyber fraud or transferring money from their bank account.
These two villages offer fake SIM cards and documents which help in opening bank accounts. Most accounts were opened in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The police disclosed that the accused mostly targeted job-seekers, senior citizens and students. They even offer lucrative offers on OLX.
They said the accused usually committed crimes at the border areas of Rajasthan and Haryana as it is difficult to track the mobile locations of the criminals. A scammer does a lot of research before selecting a target – age of the victim, bank balance, location, employment history.
Data is usually purchased online from companies for a fee. According to sources in the police, bank employees often help them locate accounts of senior citizens with a steady balance of over Rs 50,000.
The Nuh police revealed that 14 villages were considered to be hotspots of cybercrime in the district – Khedla, Luhinga Khurd, Luhinga Kalan, Gokalpur, Godhola, Aminabad, Mahu, Gulalta, Jaimat, Jakhopur, Nai, Tirwara, Mamlika, and Papda.
According to the police, these criminals used to cheat people across the country with fake SIM, Aadhaar cards etc. and used to deposit money in fake bank accounts to avoid arrest. These fraudsters lure the victims with attractive offers of sale on products like bikes, cars, mobile phones etc. by posting misleading advertisements on Facebook Bazaar/OLX.
The cybercriminals were also duping victims through sextortion by creating attractive profiles on social media platforms and luring the victims to come on a video chat where they carry out screen recordings of the victims in compromising positions and then extort huge sums of money from them. They duped people from all across the country but mainly those from Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar.
The proceeds of the crime were usually spent the cheated amount on house construction, bikes, saloon visits, and their day-to-day expenses.
In the last few years, the police from every state of the country has reached Nuh in search of cyber criminals and for investigation of cybercrime cases. A recent raid by the Haryana Police in Nuh revealed that cybercriminals have so far defrauded around 28,000 people, to the tune of more than Rs 100 crore, from all states and Union Territories.
As many as 1,346 FIRs have been registered against these cyber fraudsters across the country.
To control cyber crime in Nuh, a cyber police station was set up two years ago. Since then, more than thousands of cyber criminals have been arrested, but despite this, cyber fraud has not ended here.
The main reason is that after being released on bail, the criminals again start their scams.
The police also say that in recent communal clashes in Nuh, it emerged that the violent miscreants had targeted the Nuh cybercrime police station so as to destroy records of cybercrime and gangs unearthed in the region.
“The cyber police station of Nuh was established two years ago. It contains evidence of massive fraud and other documents relating to crimes and the miscreants aimed to destroy the evidence to avoid prosecution. We are examining the extent of damage… we have the backup of whole records,” said a senior police officer of the Nuh police.