Delhi Police nab 7 in nationwide scam ring with over 2,100 victims via fake website 'Family Help'
The gang operated by creating deceptive websites mimicking well-known brands like Ola Scooty and Patanjali to swindle people in various states, with the fraud amounting to over Rs 4 crore.
With the arrest of seven people, the Delhi Police has busted a gang of cheats, who had more than 2,100 complaints registered against them across the country, an officer said on Friday, adding that the gang used to cheat people through their firm ‘Family Help’.
The accused were identified as Vikas (28), Ankit Yadav (26), Md. Raja a.k.a Sahil (26), Kanhaiya Kumar Mahto alias Praful Patel (19), Bihari Paswan (22), Md Suhail Ansari (26), and Ajeet Kumar Paswan (23).
According to the police, a case was registered at the Shahdara Cyber Police Station on October 7, based on a complaint filed by Vijay Pahwa.
Pahwa alleged that he wanted to purchase an Ola electric scooter and had been searching online when he came across a website with the URL http://energy.simpleone.online, which claimed to sell electric scooters. After clicking on the link, Pahwa obtained a contact number, on which he made a call.
The mobile number was associated with the aforementioned website and the person he spoke to sent him various scooter models for selection. Pahwa transferred a sum of Rs 1,15,560 to the individuals associated with the website, however, after receiving the payment, the accused individuals ceased all communication with him.
When it became clear to Pahwa that he had been deceived through a fake website and its fraudulent products, he contacted the police.
“During the investigation, the police gathered the call detail records (CDRs) of the phone numbers involved, internet protocol detail records (IPDRs) of the online transactions, and IPDRs related to WhatsApp profiles, which were then analysed,” said the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Rohit Meena.
Following the analysis, a police raid was conducted in Jain Nagar, Karala, where four individuals, namely Ankit Yadav, Md. Raja Vikas and Suhail Ansari were discovered operating under the banner of a company known as ‘Family Help,’ which was owned by the accused Vikas and Md. Raja.
“The accused had registered the company as ‘Family Help’ to create websites, but in reality, they were using it as a front for fraudulent activities. They would create fake websites mimicking well-known brands like Ola Scooty, Patanjali, and others, to deceive people all over India, including states like Bihar and West Bengal, and earn a substantial income,” said the DCP.
Further technical analysis led to a raid in Warisaliganj, Bihar, where individuals named Bihari Paswan, Ajeet, and Kanhaiya were apprehended. Ajeet and Bihari worked as calling agents, while Kanhaiya was responsible for withdrawing the ill-gotten money through ATMs.
“The analysis of devices recovered from the arrested individuals revealed that the accused had been involved in fraudulent activities for the last two years, directly defrauding over 2,100 people. A sum of more than Rs 4 crore has been traced to their accounts, and additional accounts are surfacing as the investigation continues,” said the DCP.
Modus Operandi: “The accused would create counterfeit websites resembling famous ones (e.g., Simple Energy, Patanjali, Helicopter booking) under the guise of their company, ‘Family Help.’ They would then sell these fake websites to fraudsters at high prices, facilitating scams targeting unsuspecting individuals. These websites also featured mobile phone numbers that were linked to the accused,” said the DCP.
Ajeet Kumar and Bihari served as calling agents, luring complainants to buy Ola electric scooters and persuading them to transfer money in exchange for the scooters.
“They operated in close coordination with a group of four to five individuals, each having specific roles, with Kanhaiya responsible for settling the fraudulently obtained funds. Some individuals involved in this operation remain at large,” the DCP added.