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Crime news: Like-and-earn scam traced to Dubai kingpins

Updated on: 23 September,2023 08:10 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Arrest of Kolkata-based cabbie leads cops to financial links to Dubai outfits via IP addresses

Crime news: Like-and-earn scam traced to Dubai kingpins

Siddharth Chatterjee was wanted in connection with a cybercrime case filed in June

A taxi driver from Kolkata has been apprehended by the Cyber Cell (West region) in connection with a ‘like-and-earn’ scam. The police were on the lookout for Siddharth Chatterjee—a 44-year-old taxi driver—in connection with a cybercrime case filed in June, wherein a 38-year-old woman fell prey and lost Rs 12.95 lakh. He was arrested in Kolkata on September 17. 

The authorities have uncovered links between Chatterjee and individuals based in Dubai, where the fraud appears to be masterminded. Investigations into multiple cases of like and earn fraud—predominantly conducted through Telegram—have revealed that the IP addresses are often traced back to Dubai.

The taxi driver allegedly played a significant role in facilitating the use of Indian bank accounts by fraudsters operating through various Telegram channels based in Dubai. Mumbai's cybercrime unit has discovered that the accused provided 35 accounts to these fraudsters, which were utilised for transferring money obtained fraudulently. Chatterjee was allegedly receiving a commission of Rs 30,000-Rs 35,000 per account.

Multiple cases of like and earn fraud have also been reported in the Middle East. Representation picMultiple cases of like and earn fraud have also been reported in the Middle East. Representation pic

“We have frozen several accounts having R7 lakh in total and our team is actively pursuing further leads in the case,” assistant police inspector Nitin Gacche who is leading the investigation by the Cyber Cell (West region) said.

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The authorities also recovered 10 debit cards, 10 SIM cards, and two mobile phones from Chatterjee, all of which were being utilised for cybercriminal activities. According to sources, Chatterjee was drawn into this criminal network by another individual from Kolkata who passed away recently. After his demise, his younger brother—who is currently on the run—established contact with Chatterjee to obtain information about the savings accounts of financially vulnerable individuals. This information was then supplied to the fraudsters in Dubai through a Telegram channel. The police have yet to disclose the brother’s identity.

The Cyber Cell has observed a pattern where individuals arrested in similar fraud cases have links to Dubai. Their primary role has been to provide bank accounts to fraudsters, which were subsequently used to transfer funds obtained fraudulently. In return, they received substantial commissions per account. The cyber officials possess compelling evidence suggesting that the scam involving Chatterjee is coordinated from Dubai. “There is enough material which suggests that the scamsters are operating from Dubai and soon we are going to inform the authorities concerned through official channels,” a senior Mumbai police officer said.

According to local media reports in Dubai, there have been multiple cases of ‘like and earn’ fraud reported not only in Dubai but also in other parts of the Middle East. These cases involve people falling victim to similar tactics as those seen in India.

Rs 35,000
Approx commission accused received per account

No. of bank accounts accusedprovided

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