Nagpur: An advanced hacker gang, mastermind in China, is operating an app-based sextortion racket under the guise of offering instant loans.
After pocketing more than Rs50 lakh by threatening more than 500 victims over the past few months, two of the gang members – Kaif Ibrahim Sayyed (25) and Irshad Ismail Shaikh (32) – were arrested at Karad in Satara by a Ajni police station team. under Deputy Area Police Commissioner (DCP) Noorul Hasan on July 25.
It is learned that the cops focused on the accused duo using mobile phone technology and other technical aids, apart from bank details.
The gang was discovered after targeting a 21-year-old job aspirant from South Nagpur, turning her photo into an obscene image and circulating it among her contacts in her phone book, which included her close relatives and members of her family. family.
The young woman had received a link on her phone with a message in English stating that she had borrowed loans that she had to repay immediately or the sender would make her photos go viral.
The worried woman clicked on the link for details, after which an app was downloaded to her mobile phone. The victim then started receiving calls from various international numbers belonging to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Middle Eastern countries and different places in India. The callers threatened to pay or face embarrassment.
Following the threats, the victim spat out more than 12,000 rupees twice. Although she made the payments, the racketeers shared her transformed image with her loved ones, leaving them devastated to the point that her father had to undergo heart surgery twice during the same period.
She also started getting calls from different places across India like Gujarat, Chandrapur and Thane.
Hasan said the racketeers were likely making calls from India with numbers bought in different parts of the world using WhatsApp. “The racketeers said during questioning that they used the ‘Binance’ app, which converts international currencies,” he added.
“The money the racketeers earned through extortion was funneled out of India and pocketed by someone in China. The money was then withdrawn from Hong Kong,” said the DCP, which oversaw the team of Senior Inspector Sarin Durge and Deputy Police Inspector Maroti Shelke from Ajni Police Station.
Hasan added that the investigation showed that each racketeer received a list of 25 potential victims and their contact details every day, after which he began to harass them. “Sometimes racketeers would deposit nominal loans into victims’ accounts and then start harassing them, asking them to pay back with 30% interest for seven days,” he said.
The police officer said he would write to the Directorate of Law Enforcement, the National Investigation Agency and other national and international security agencies alerting them to the racketeering.
Hasan also called on citizens to approach Ajni Police Station to report such cases and not to yield under pressure.