Hyderabad: Too much of spotlight appears to have taken some of the sheen off the notorious district of Jamtara in Jharkhand for conmen. From media reports christening it India’s phishing paradise to even a 10-part Netflix series, the heightened attention on this hub for cyber crooks is reportedly prompting its fraudsters to shift base.
According to Cybercrime officials here who have been keeping a watch on conmen from Jamtara, cyber fraudsters are moving en masse into the neighbouring West Bengal, especially Asansol, about 40 kilometres from Jamtara.
Recent investigations by the Hyderabad Cybercrime wing into debit card and credit card frauds revealed that several Jamtara-based gangs were now carrying out their activities from Asansol and other towns in West Bengal.
“Previously, we could trace all card frauds to Jamtara. Now, they are moving into the neighbouring West Bengal and during recent surveys, we found close to 60 per cent of frauds are now based from new towns there,” said KVM Prasad, ACP (Cybercrime), Hyderabad.
“They must have realised that they are being tracked using mobile phone tower locations. They now stay in hotels or private accommodations for a few days and carry out their activity, after which they head back to their native places,” he said.
Jamtara had become notorious for debit/credit card frauds, wherein a caller pretending to be a bank executive would call a target and after collecting his or her personal data including the OTP, steal money from their account.
According to police records, the man who triggered a chain of such frauds from Jamtara was Vijay Kumar Mandal, who is believed to have later passed on the modus operandi to locals before he shifted to Mumbai.
Keeping up with digital age
Hyderabad: Dacoity is now out of fashion. With the country moving into a digital age, cybercrime is now the new territory for most gangs that were once infamous for dacoity.
Many villages across the country, that were notorious for being home to dreaded dacoit gangs, are witnessing an avatar shift in these gangs, from the conventional gun-toting dacoit with a burly moustache to the suave technology savvy cyber crook, who can match MBA graduates and even the most persuasive of bank executives when it comes to convincing a person over phone, though this is into parting with his or her personal bank information.
Officials say gangs once notorious for robberies and brutal attacks from Alwar and Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Mewat in Haryana have now taken to cybercrime and are looting hundreds of people each day across the country. The gangs are pretending to be army or paramilitary officers and conning people on popular e-commerce platforms.
On an average, police in Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda are receiving around 10 complaints a day of such fraudsters duping people on the pretext of selling automobiles and electronic gadgets.
“Despite repeated advisories, many people are still falling victim to these gangs,” says S Harinath, ACP (Cybercrime), Rachakonda.
Cybercrime gangs from north Bihar are more into gift and lottery frauds, said Hyderabad Cybercrime ACP KVM Prasad, adding that they call up victims offering gift hampers and cash backs on purchases from Flipkart or Amazon and dupe them. Gangs from north Bihar were focusing on lottery scams.
“They call up random numbers and inform the person that they have won a lottery. Huge sums are fleeced from the victims as ‘processing fee’ or ‘tax’,” he said.
Police teams from Rachakonda, Cyberabad and Hyderabad do visit these villages after tracking down the fraudsters based on mobile tower locations, but most often have to return empty-handed as the local police are not cooperative, officials here said.