The cyber wing of the Madhya Pradesh Police on Monday arrested two persons for their involvement in the hacking of credit cards of other people and making large and crazy online purchases.

The duo is believed to be members of an international cyber-criminal gang whose specialty is hacking credit cards run by a Pakistani national, Shaikh Afzal with Shozi as an alias.

The two detainees are both residents of Mumbai.

According to Jitendra Singh, Superintendent of Police (SP) of State Cyber Cell’s Indore unit, the arrest of Ramkumar Pillai and Ramprasad Nadar, the two Indian members of the gang came after a complaint was lodged by a bank official from Agar Malwa district.

He complained that Rs 72,401 was debited from his credit card on August 28, which wasn’t his own doing.

Superintendent Singh stated that the head of the gang, Sheikh Afzal controls the business from Lahore in Pakistan with the aid of the dark web, e-commerce website FE Shop, based in Russia, which deals in illegal credit or debit as well as other financial transaction details.

“Afzal held the master control for entering into FE Shop and he had the mechanism to keep tabs on what the others were doing.”

“We have learned that Shozi is a native of Lahore and got married only last year. Shozi visits different countries across the world. He was in Uzbekistan when Nadar and Pillai talked to him last time through Skype. We are trying to confirm these details,” Superintendent Singh said.

He also said that members of this cyber gang through some websites on the dark web were able to purchase credit card details. After acquiring the private details of the hacked credit cards, they then proceeded to make purchases for airline tickets and tourism packages in Thailand, Bangkok, Dubai, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

At the same time, the gang also bought expensive items from foreign countries, according to an official.

Ramprasad used to get refunds for using the credit cards illegally as he had worked as a manager in a highly respected bank in Mumbai earlier.

“The gang members used to pay through Bitcoin to purchase the hacked details of credit cards on the dark web. If this payment is measured in terms of Indian currency, it costs only Rs 500 to Rs 800 to buy details off every credit card,” Superintendent Singh added.

According to the police, Ramkumar and Ramprasad had a luxurious lifestyle and flew abroad for holidays quite often, aside from the purchasing of expensive clothes.

“Nadar (a manager with reputed bank till last year) bought an Armani suit for his girlfriend for Rs 66,000 from Bangkok,” Singh said.

Their location in Mumbai was known after the pair bought a flight online.

Superintendent Singh also stated that the duo also usually sent half the amount they spent to the mastermind behind this scheme, Shozi, through some secret online methods.

Another ploy the hackers used was that they only selected the online e-commerce website, where a one-time password (OTP) wasn’t required to make a purchase. This only notifies the holders of the card about the misuse of the credit card after the payment was completed.

As per the initial investigation, Superintendent Singh stated that Ramkumar and Ramprasad made purchases of about Rs 20 lakh. They also misused seven credit cards so far.

This figure, however, might increase after further investigation.

“The gang has been operating since 2013. We have so far identified 13 victims and are still calculating the amount defrauded,” Singh stated.

He also mentioned that the search for another member was ongoing, for a resident of Jabalpur.

Twenty-five credit and debit cards and a number of mobile phones were recovered by the police.

Over the years, the ease that online shopping has provided has also opened room for hackers and fraudsters to lay hands on your most confidential banking details. This has brought about many cases of credit card hack and other security breaches.

With the number of Indians going digital and doing transactions online increasing, so does the rate of these hacking incidents.

According to a joint study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the number of cyber crime cases registered in India, under the Information Technology (IT) Act, experienced a surge of about 350% from 2011 to 2014.

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