Hyderabad: The Cyberabad cyber crime police arrested five members of the 'Gang of Mira Road' on 21 January in connection with SIM swap fraud cases. Since 2011, the gang, through SIM swap, had got access to the bank accounts of their victims and siphoned off funds worth lakhs.
The main accused, James from Nigeria, is absconding. The arrested persons have been identified as Chandrakant Siddhanth Kamble, Zameer Ahmed Munir Sayyed, Adil Hassan Ali Sayyed, Junaid Ahmed Shaik, and Ashwin Narayana Sharegar. All are residents of Mira Road in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Another accused, Shoaib Sheikh, is also absconding.
Victims of SIM swap fraud
On 29 June this year, the police received a complaint from a victim who claimed he had been cheated to the tune of over Rs. 4 lakhs. According to the complainant, he got a new SIM card on 21 June but soon observed that it was working only for outgoing calls and he could not receive any calls. He contacted JIO customer care and complained about the same. The issue was soon resolved.
Later, he tried to log in to his Internet banking account on his mobile and found that some unknown persons had changed his login and password. He also found that someone had made three Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) transactions from his account and withdrawn Rs. 4,25,000.
In another case, the police received a complaint on 29 October 2020 from a person who had been cheated to the tune of over Rs. 6 lakhs. The complainant had got a new Jio SIM card. He received a message that asked him to visit www.jio.com/GetMyjio to manage his account. After that, his SIM card was blocked. He visited the Jio Store for a new card but could not get one. A few days later, on 28 October, he received a message saying Rs. 6,75,000 had been withdrawn from his account.
Modus operandi of fraudsters
According to the police, James, who operates from Nigeria, is the mastermind behind the fraud. Through phishing emails, he collected the internet banking details and registered mobile number of his targets. He then shared the details with Chandrakant Siddhant Kamble who collected the registered mobile number details linked to the bank account of the victims. After obtaining the mobile subscriber details, he prepared fake documents and facsimile rubber stamps in the name of the company. He then handed over the fake documents/facsimile rubber stamps to Zamir Ahmed Munir Ahmed Saiyad and Adil Hassan Ali Sayyed to obtain a new SIM card.
Then Junaid Ahmed Shaik submitted the fake documents and collected the new SIM card which was handed over to Zamir Ahmed Munir Ahmed Saiyad. James then transferred funds from the victim's account using the OTPs generated on the new SIM card. The money was transferred into the account provided by Shoaib Sheikh and Ashwin Narayan Sharegar. The same was then withdrawn from different locations and funds were transferred to Nigeria in Bitcoins and hawala.
The police seized 40 fake Aadhar cards, four round seal and facsimile rubber stamps, 15 mobile phones, and seven letterheads of various organizations used to collect SIM cards.