The State Police received a lesson in new age crime as nearly Rs.12 lakh was siphoned off from two bank accounts of a city-based doctor. The force is at a loss as to how to go about the inquiry.
This is the second major cyber crime reported in the State. A medical student in Thiruvananthpuram recently had Rs.76,000 debited from his account using an ATM card swiped in Moscow, where he had studied.
“What interested us in this case was the modus operandi employed by the criminals and it was the first of its kind. We have formed multiple teams, comprising experts from banking, telecom and cyber forensics, to probe different angles of the case,” said Sunil Jacob, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ernakulam.
Dr. Shabir Khan R. Rawther, consultant at Lakeshore Hospital, had Rs.11,14,500 debited from his two Axis
Bank accounts at Rajaji Road branch here. The criminals had secured a duplicate SIM card of his Vodafone connection and blocked his service. The money was transferred using mobile banking, accessed through the duplicate SIM card.
The duplicate SIM card was issued from Hyderabad without Dr. Khan knowing it and the money was transferred to two accounts in Maharashtra and Secunderabad.
Also, the transfer was not made directly, but bounced to 18-odd different accounts, indicating meticulous planning and aiding the criminals in covering their tracks.
Sources in the State Police said that laxity on the part of new generation banks and telecom service providers could have helped the criminals.
“We have been running awareness campaigns to make the public make more cautious about online transactions. It is near impossible to prevent virtual criminals as it cannot be predicted from where they will strike. So utmost care is warranted from the public in this,” said N. Vinayakumaran Nair, Assistant Commissioner, Hi-Tech Cell of the State Police.