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Punjab Police busts cyber fraud racket using WhatsApp profiles of VVIPs to seek money, 2 Nigerian held

The Statesman logo The Statesman 07-07-2022 Statesman News Service
Punjab Police busts cyber fraud racket using WhatsApp profiles of VVIPs to seek money, 2 Nigerian held © Provided by The Statesman Punjab Police busts cyber fraud racket using WhatsApp profiles of VVIPs to seek money, 2 Nigerian held

With the arrest of two Nigerian Men from Delhi, the Cyber Crime Cell of the Punjab Police on Thursday busted an international cyber fraud racket in which imposters were using profiles pictures and names of VVIPs on their WhatsApp profiles to dupe government officials and common people.

The Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Gaurav Yadav said the modus operandi used by imposters was sending personal WhatsApp messages to innocent people mostly government officials, asking for financial favors in form of Amazon gift cards, Paytm, or any other digital payment method. In the last few months, fraudsters have duped numerous people by impersonating as Cabinet ministers, DGP Punjab, chief secretary Punjab, and other officers.

Those arrested have been identified as Anioke Hyginus Okwudili alias Poka and Franklyn alias William, both residents of Lagos in Nigeria and currently residing in Delhi. The police have also recovered one Canara Bank Debit Card, various gadgets, mobile phones, laptops, expensive watches, and passports.

Divulging more details about the operation, inspector general of police (IGP) Cyber Crime RK Jaiswal said after an extensive hi-tech investigation and reliable information from WhatsApp, the state cyber cell had received some major leads following which three different police teams were constituted. One team was sent to Delhi.

The IGP said the police teams in a joint operation with the Delhi Police managed to catch the accused Anioke alias Poka red-handed while he was withdrawing money from the ATM located near Vikas Puri in New Delhi.

During interrogation, the accused Anioke alias Poka revealed that WhatsApp accounts were hacked from Nigeria and he used to withdraw the money from the ATM cards of bank accounts opened using fake documents in different parts of the country and then used to handover the money to their kingpin namely Franklin alias William, who further used to electronically transfer the money to Nigeria, he said adding the police teams have also arrested Franklyn after a hot chase.

“A startling aspect is Nigerians being associated with such a high level of white collar crimes,” Jaiswal said.

The team of the Cyber Crime Cell had also conducted raids in the states including Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to nab the culprits.

Revealing further investigations, Deputy Inspector General of Police , Cyber Crime, Nilambari Jagadale said financial transactions amounting to lakhs of rupees  were done by the gang every day.

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