Cybercrime menace: 500,000 Sim cards blocked in Mewat since January 2022

The fraudsters were making a call using a Sim card, then switching off the phone, removing the Sim and putting a new Sim in the same phone to place the next call

BS Web Team New Delhi

Haryana Police's Cyber Crime Cell has blocked over 5 lakh Sim cards since January 2022, that were being used in the Mewat region to commit cyber fraud, a report by The Indian Express (IE) said. The police have also identified 402 criminals allegedly involved in cyber fraud. Mewat is located in the Nuh district of Haryana. 
In 2022, the police has acted upon 66,784 complaints amounting to total frauds worth Rs 301.48 crore. A total of 2,165 cases have been registered so far and 1,065 people have been arrested. Moreover, transactions worth Rs 46.91 crore have been put on hold or the money has been recovered in such transactions.

"We used cell tower dump analysis in Mewat to identify 496,562 mobile numbers issued from other states but used exclusively in this region. We have identified 15,672 more numbers and blocked 1,959. Eleven suo moto cases have been registered. Suspicious links with other states were found in six of these cases. The details have been shared with the states concerned," an official told IE
The report added that fraudulent calls and Sim cards have been identified using Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition Powered Solution for Telecom Sim Subscriber Verification (ASTR), a tool developed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The fraudsters were making a call using a Sim card, then switching off the phone, removing the Sim and putting a new Sim in the same phone to place the next call. The authorities added that six Sim cards can be issued on a single identity proof but here even a dozen were issued. 
"One person arranges for SIM cards using fake documents, the second gets bank accounts and payment applications linked to these SIM cards, the third one uses another SIM card to call and dupe potential targets, while the fourth withdraws the money. The offenders mostly target people living far away to evade arrest," another official told IE

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The report added that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also raised concerns over cybercrimes in Mewat. 

First Published: Feb 20 2023 | 12:47 PM IST

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