UP Cyber cops nab three for pan-India ‘franchise fraud’

NOIDA, May 14: The Cyber Crime wing of Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested three men, allegedly involved in duping people online across the country on the pretext of providing franchises of some popular commercial brands.
Investigation into the gang’s criminal antecedents revealed that it made fake websites of popular consumer retail chains, dairy products, automobile companies and even central government schemes for farmers to dupe people, Cyber Crime’s Superintendent of PoliceTriveni Singh said.
“The trio was arrested on Friday following a case lodged in Prayagraj where the complainant had alleged fraud of Rs 17 lakh. The complainant was tricked into paying the money in return for the franchise of consumer retail chain Easyday,” Singh said.
“The gang has similarly duped people in the name of big companies like Royal Enfield, Bajaj Finance, Easyday, PM Kusum Yojna etc and are suspected to have conned thousands of people across the country. We are working on more cases linked to this gang and expecting more victims duped by it to approach the police,” the officer said.
The accused have been identified as Vinay Kumar alias Ashok Singh, 33, Abhishek Sharma, 27, and Ratnesh Bharti, 29. Vinay worked as the main operator while Abhishek developed the websites for the gang, he said. On the modus operandi of the criminals, Singh said the police investigation has revealed that this gang is one of several such groups of cyber cheats which are now operating from Bihar’s Nalanda and nearby areas.
“They are notorious online criminals who have organised their work very smartly. They operate from Bihar, have got mobile phone sim cards from West Bengal, and got fake websites made in Madhya Pradesh. For transaction of the duped money, they used bank accounts which were not in their names,” he said.
“As per our investigations till now, they have duped people from Tamil Nadu and Kerala in south India to people in Jammu and Kashmir in the north. They have several victims in states like UP, MP, Bihar and Rajasthan. Legal action is being taken against them,” he added. The Cyber Crime Department, meanwhile, urged people to be cautious during online transactions and social media activities to avoid financial fraud or any other hassles. The police also urged people to approach it on the dedicated helpline number 1930 or 112 to report any cyber-related case. (PTI)