The Cyber cell department of Ahmedabad police has busted a sensational SIM swap record and has arrested three Kolkata-based fraudsters for cheating a ball bearing trading company of over Rs 1.19 crores in four hours flat. This is perhaps the biggest SIM swap fraud in India detected so far.
A member cyber police team led by M R Pardava nabbed the three culprits after closely scrutinising the case and detecting a massive SIM swap fraud.
Thaltej-based Collective Trade Links Private Limited’s Director Prakash Mehta had been using a Vodafone-Idea sim for 15 years.
On March 11, the telecom company reportedly sent an email to the corporate’s official email account regarding a sim replacement request by Mehta. However, Mehta had not made such a request.
“On March 13, two company treasurers checked the company’s account with a private bank and found someone had withdrawn Rs 1.19 plus crores through 22 suspicious transactions in four hours,” A complaint was registered with the cyber cell of Ahmedabad Police.
The police soon realised that the Vodafone email id used for communication was a fake one.The Ahmedabad cops studied CDR details and sought help from Google about the fake email id used for the fraud.
A seven-member police team of police inspector M R Paradva, PSI M C Jadeja, Prashant Dineshchandra, Santosh, Dharmendrasinh Tikusinh, Dharmendrasinh Pushpatsinh and Bhavesh Modi investigated the fraud and arrested Atikur Rehman, Parvez Ahmed and Kukhtar Ali, all from Kolkata.
While Atikur dabbles with home loans and insurance policies, Parvez is into construction and Mukhtar has a wholesale textile business. The trio has been arrested and brought to Ahmedabad. They are suspected to be involved in similar SIM Swap frauds across the country.
WHAT IS SIM SWAP FRAUD?
SIM swap fraud has become a prevalent type of cyber fraud in India, with cybercriminals using various methods such as phishing, vishing, and smishing to obtain personal information of potential victims. Once they have the information, they create a fake ID and issue a duplicate SIM card which blocks the original SIM and gives fraudsters access to the victim’s account and OTP.
This type of fraud has resulted in people losing crores of rupees, with recent incidents including a Mumbai resident losing Rs 1.7 crore and a Delhi businessman losing Rs 50 lakh. To avoid being a victim of SIM swap fraud, it is essential not to share any personal information with anyone and to use a strong password. Additionally, it is advisable to keep a withdrawal limit on your bank account and immediately stop your net banking if you experience poor network connectivity in your area.
Cybercriminals often lure their victims by offering free upgrades from 3G to 4G, extra benefits on packages, lottery prizes, and verification of bank details. Once the information is provided, fraudsters can clear the entire amount from the victim’s account. This type of fraud is not just limited to India, as the FBI has registered 1,611 complaints of SIM swap fraud in 2021 alone, with the fraud amount estimated to be $68 million or Rs 544 crore.
To avoid becoming a victim
- Avoid sharing important personal information with anyone
- Use a strong password.
- Set a withdrawal limit on your bank account
- Immediately stop net banking if you have a poor network in your area or contact your operator.
- Replace your SIM card with an e SIM
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