Hyderabad: A 78-year-old Udaipur resident reported a Rs. 6.5 lakh cyber fraud case to the CyberSafe on 11 June. The fraud to phone (F2P) caller was operating from Jharkhand. Tracking via the ministry of Home Affairs-run Financing Coordination Centre's (FCORD) CyberSafe app revealed that the funds were directly credited to three SBI cards that were used to buy 33 expensive China-made Xiaomi POCO M3 mobile phones from Flipkart.

Within minutes, the addresses where these were delivered in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh, were identified and the Balaghat SP was informed. The MP police successfully detained the mastermind behind the scam and seized all 33 new phones from him. The F2P gang bought these phones for about Rs. 10,000 each and sold them in the black market for a five-10 per cent discount, the police found.

Meanwhile, the Jharkhand police arrested the F2P caller. This F2P gang had several hundred operatives who were running different legs of the transactions which involved OTP fraud, Credit Cards frauds, e-Commerce frauds, fake IDs, fake mobile numbers, fake addresses, black marketing, tax evasion, money laundering, and dealing with stolen goods.

In all, eight F2P gang masterminds – two in MP, four in Jharkhand, and two in AP - have been arrested and nearly 300 new mobile phones bought from stolen funds seized. Further, 900 cell phones, 1,000 bank accounts, and hundreds of UPI and e-commerce IDs of the gangs were identified and are under investigation, while nearly 100 bank accounts and debit/credit cards were frozen. The operation against the F2P gang has expanded to 18 states and 350 persons and investigation is ongoing.

The accused are also being questioned their preference for China-made phones, especially those made by Xiaomi. CyberSafe played a big role in the solving of these cases.

65,000 phone frauds reported on CyberSafe

CyberSafe is an app created by FCORD and has been operating since August 2019. It links more than 3,000 Law Enforcement Authorities (LEAs), including police stations, in 19 states/UTs with 18 fintech entities online and in real-time.

The fraudster's mobile numbers are the key to CyberSafe. As soon as a victim informs the police, the information is entered on CyberSafe and in real-time, fund flows are identified and communicated.

So far, 65,000 phone frauds were reported on this app and 55,000 phone numbers and several thousand bank accounts of fraudsters identified. Soon, NPCI will be integrating with CyberSafe, expanding the ambit of real-time prevention of cyber crime to the UPI domain, thereby amplifying its success in crime prevention.

CyberSafe runs a website https://cybersafe.gov.in which provides access only to law enforcement authorities and fintech entities.

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