Delhi cyber cheats use ‘Omicron’ to extract ‘OTP’, 3 held

New Delhi: The IFSO Unit of Special Cell, Delhi Police has busted a gang of cyber cheats, who used to hack the WhatsApp accounts of victims by striking a communication on Omicron booster dose and arrested three persons, an official said here on Monday.

The accused were identified as Manish Kumar, Rohit Singh and Kaushlendra Singh Tomer.

Deputy Commissioner of Police IFSO (Special Cell) K.P.S. Malhotra said the accused used to pretend as government officials and would thereby lure the victim to share the OTP through the conference call.

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Furnishing more details about the case, Malhotra said a complaint was received at IFSO Unit, Special Cell that the complainant received a call in which he was informed that after both doses of Covid vaccine the complainant has to take a booster dose. The complainant was told to take the incoming call on conference and then after getting the WhatsApp account change code, his WhatsApp was hacked and his friends and relatives received several messages.

The brother of the complainant deposited Rs 50,000 in the fraudsters account through UPI. During the probe, it was found that 20 more such complaints were lodged on the cyber-crime portal pertaining to this network. Based on this complaint, a case was registered under appropriate sections of law at the Special Cell police station.

During the course of investigation, technical, physical and financial analysis was undertaken and the main caller was identified to be Manish Kumar. Accordingly, a raid was conducted at Agra, Uttar Pradesh and the accused along with two of his associates, namely Rohit Singh and Kaushlendra Singh Tomer, were arrested. The mobile phone and the devices used in the crime were recovered from them. During investigation, the kingpin accused Manish disclosed that about one year ago, he learnt techniques of WhatsApp hacking from Youtube and thereafter he used to cheat innocent persons on different pretexts.

“At this time of Covid Pandemic, the accused used to call the victims impersonating himself from the Vaccination Department and would ask the victims to fix dates for the booster dose,” the official said.

To circumvent the possibility of the victim being aware of the scam, he would induce the victim to make a conference call rather than getting the code on the message. This would prevent the victim from analyzing the situation in the spur of the moment and while listening to the conference call, he would get access to the OTP of WhatsApp account change.

Once the account of the victim would come under the control of fraudsters, they would send distress messages to their relatives and induce them to send money through various financial channels.

The accused Manish Kumar was also found involved in three more cases of outraging the modesty of women.

“Further investigation of the case is in progress,” the official added.

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