Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar cyber cops nail five who conned, extorted money from a Bhayandar resident
Hours after mid-day front-paged a report on the use of social media and popular apps by unscrupulous digital lenders, a departure from Google Play Store, the Mira-Bhayandar police arrested five people for their alleged role in the extortion of a man. The complainant had come across an ad for a loan app on Instagram. While he downloaded it and never applied for a loan, he was blackmailed to pay up.
The cyber cell of the Mira-Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar police said three suspects, identified as Vasai resident Deepak Mishra, 27, Vilber Sharma, 33, and Manoj Sharma, 33, of Naigaon had rented out their bank accounts to the cons for receiving money from borrowers. Each of them received a monthly commission of Rs 50,000, said the police. Mishra owns an export-import firm. One man, believed to be the leader of the group, escaped after getting a hint of the police action, they said.
The man got the app via an ad on Insta. Representation pic
Citing the case, registered on August 4, the police had said that scores of illegal loan apps were emerging via advertisement on the pages of influencers on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other popular mobile application, while many have emerged on Google Play Store with new names.
Sources said Mishra, Vilber and Manoj told the police that their account was being used by a 21-year-old Vasai woman and one Roshan Peter D’souza of Nalasopara. The cops are yet to find out the exact amount that landed in each of the three accounts every month. The cops have shared the Aadhaar and PAN numbers of the trio with 180 banks and requested them to let them know if there are any bank accounts linked to the three suspects.
“The fraudsters would use fake rent agreements to get bank accounts opened in others’ names. Once an account was opened, they would take control of it and pay a monthly rent to the account holder,” said an officer privy to the investigation. The case has now been handed over to the Bhayandar police.
The new modus operandi by illegal loan apps came to light after a 34-year-old Bhayandar man filed a police complaint. The applicant, the head of a security agency, said he was watching an Instagram video on July 30 when he came across an advertisement for the Rupee Tiger loan app. He clicked on the ad link and downloaded the app, but didn’t apply for any loan.
The complainant told the police that Rs 1,600 got deposited into his bank account. He soon received a WhatsApp message asking him to pay Rs 3,000. Subsequent messages threatened to share his morphed photos with all his contacts. Scared, he paid Rs 3,000 to the recovery agents, but another Rs 1,600 was credited to his account and he was told to pay Rs 3,000 for the second time. When a third attempt was made, he approached the police.
No of banks cops sought info from
Amount in rupees that the man was forced to pay twice