Save your savings! ‘Banking App’ scammers newest on the block

As Android phones are widely used in the country even by elderly people, scammers are now taking advantage of various life situations and financial activities and going in a ‘digital way of cheating.’

It can be in the form of a message leading to a fake page of a credible banking app, or even life-saving equipment you are in dire need of while on the sick bed. This list is enormous and can go from curious things to heartening events…

The Delhi Police says it has busted a pan-India network of cheats by arresting 23 accused persons in connection with the fraud of a fake version of the State Bank of India’s internet banking app — ‘Yono’.

They were running a ‘parallel network’ that was cheating people due to the resemblance of the banking app.

One SMS can suck your life savings.

The modus operandi of these scammers starts with an SMS sent to your android phone. Initially, the racket will send bulk messages with a link disguising that it leads to the ‘Yono App’ fake page.

They host fake phishing pages on various platforms like ‘ngrock’ and others, say the police.

Once the account holder feeds credentials on the fake net banking page, the accused simultaneously login into the original account of the victim.

Within no time, they will withdraw the saving of their ‘prey’ from different locations. The gang scattered over various locations had close coordination regarding their nefarious activities.

“Once the victim filled in the details in fake Yono App, the fraudster would get access to the same including the OTP through the admin control of fake Yono App,” says a senior police official.

How ‘intelligent criminals’ get caught.

The Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSCO) unit of the Special Cell noticed that various complaints were regularly being received wherein it was revealed that the victims were cheated on the pretext of updating the KYC on the Yono app.

The SBI management was contacted and a joint investigation was launched wherein the data from SBI was sought and the same was subjected to detailed inquiry.

During analysis, a cluster of more than 100 complaints was found, where 51 complaints pertaining to Delhi were linked.

During the course of the investigation, the technical analysis of the links sent by the alleged persons, hosting of the links, mobile call analysis, and the financial trail was carried out and it was revealed that they are operating in a very organized manner from various places all over India.

The infamous Jamtara connection

The police carried out extensive analysis and on-ground verification. The hideouts of the accused were identified in Surat, Kolkata, Girdih, Jamtara, Dhanbad, and Delhi NCR. During the detailed investigation, the modules of the accused persons were revealed.

As per the probe, there were 6 modules assigned for various purposes of the scam.

One group is involved in the creation and hosting of phishing links, another was procuring fake SIM cards for sending bulk SMS and calls.

The third module was involved sending the phishing links and calling the victim if he did not feed the OTP on the phishing page.

The fourth group simultaneously logs in the victim’s net banking and transfers the funds to fraudulently procured bank accounts.

Another module was involved procuring fake or fraudulent bank accounts and the last group was withdrawing the money from bank accounts.

During technical analysis, it was also observed that the mobile phones and digital trails of the alleged persons went off the radar at the same time. If anyone accused is apprehended, then the others would have gone offline and become untraceable. Thus, a strategy was devised to conduct raids at all their hideouts simultaneously and in a coordinated manner.

Keeping this in view raids were conducted at their hideouts at seven places across India simultaneously,

Another scam during Covid was also operating in the same pattern. Under the mission of Delhi Police’s Cyber Prahar, they arrested 90 persons who were cheating innocent persons on the pretext of selling them life saving equipment and medicines.

It was the first time when the entire Delhi Police with all units and districts worked together to fight cyber fraud.

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