What is 'Jamtara' fraud in Indian state of Jharkhand? Cybercrooks con 2,500 more
Jamtara city in the Indian state of Jharkhand has recently gained notoriety for being a hub of organised cybercrime activities, particularly in the form of phishing scams. The Jamtara fraud involves a group of scammers who pose as representatives of legitimate companies. Often they fake being employees with banks or insurance firms.
Under this guise, they trick unsuspecting individuals into revealing their personal and financial information, such as bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card details. The scammers then use this information to carry out fraudulent transactions, such as making unauthorised purchases or transferring money out of the victim's accounts.
The Jamtara fraudsters often use tactics such as social engineering, where they build rapport with the victim and convince them to trust them. In recent years, the Jamtara-styled fraudsters have become operational in other parts of India as well. It has been a major concern for law enforcement agencies in India, and there have been several efforts to crack down on these scammers and dismantle their operations.
In the latest, the Delhi Police arrested six people from Jamtara for conning over 2,500 individuals in India of Rs 1 crore via customer care centres. The accused people would publish their cellphone numbers as customer service numbers for the majority of the banks. People looking for customer service information for banks or online retailers would often then come across the provided fake numbers and become a victim of cyber fraud.
According to police, the accused reportedly employed mirroring software to gain access to the victims' registered cell phones in order to steal money.
The suspects impersonated customer service personnel for many reputable banks and online retailers. Authorities claimed to have found 12,500 pre-activated SIM cards that had been given to scammers in Jamtara from West Bengal's Murshidabad city for over a year.
According to DCP (Outer North) Ravi Kumar Singh, the issue came to light when a complainant from Dubai travelled to Delhi to see his daughter. He used Google to look for the customer service number to update his daughter's bank passbook.
“His location was shared with the accused and the net banking page was opened. The accused forwarded the call to a person posing as a senior executive and remotely got access to the mobile phone and made two transactions of Rs 9,50,000 and Rs 50,000 from the account. A case of cheating was lodged and investigation was taken up," reported Indian Express quoting DCP Singh.
“It was found that the accused used the call forwarding method and kept changing Google web page customer phone numbers to hide their locations. The phone numbers and IMEI were analysed and it has been noticed that these persons were carrying out cyber fraud in an organised and professional manner on a pan India basis,” the DCP added.
On April 11, a raid was carried out in the Jamtara village of Nawadih as part of the ongoing investigation into the case. Six persons were detained, and 25 mobile phones with fraudulent SIM cards and incriminating data were recovered.
“During the call, the accused would pose as a customer care official. They would get a sharing or mirroring application installed in the victim’s device with the prefix coinciding with the bank name such as SBI ANYDESK, and once they got the application installed, they would siphon off the money,” he said. “A fraudster would keep three to four smart mobile phones and choose a remote place in Nawadih village…where police access is difficult,” added the DCP.