Mon, 14 Jun 2021

New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): Delhi Police on Tuesday informed that it has so far registered 372 FIRs against "Covid cheats" and arrested 91 persons for the same.

"Delhi Police has so far registered 372 FIRs against Covid cheats, arrested 91 persons, seized 95 devices and frozen 214 bank accounts within cheated amount of Rs 53,60,000", informed the Delhi Police in a press statement.

Delhi Police on Tuesday informed about the progress of its 'operation Cyber Prahaar' against Cyber frauds.

"The onset of second wave of Covid-19 has brought into force a lockdown. With uncertainties around several questions related to movements, medicine, oxygen etc, the Social Media (SM) Monitoring Cell of Delhi Police, under close monitoring by Delhi Commissioner of Police, started answering the concerned public with relevant answers and guidance", police said.

As the situation would develop, questions of scarcity and sudden jump in the requirements of hospital beds, select life-saving medicines and later oxygen support shot up like a tsunami. Organized cheats were as if all were waiting for this human tragedy to unfold. There was a sudden and substantial change in the nature of distress calls being received- covidcheat becoming most important amongst all others within a day or two, it said.

Delhi police overnight augmented the capacities of its Covid Helpline for reporting Covid cheat cases. Simultaneously, awareness campaign requesting citizens to lodge cyber fraud instances on the website and use the Delhi special pilot cyber financial fraud helpline and an official website was initiated.

Immediately all the District Cyber Cells and Cybercrime Unit of Crime Branch joined hands with CyPAD and a system of generation of 12 hourly situation reports on complaints and FIR was established.

Continuous analysis of registered cases and complaints indicated that while a majority of suspect SIM cards were subscribed and sourced from one State, the places from where these SIM cards were being used was another State.

According to the police, moreover, the beneficiary accounts where these SIM users were receiving cheated money were scattered all over the country - States like West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka appeared as being highly affected by the presence of this cybercriminal network.

Immediately the DGPs of concerned regions were contacted by CP Delhi for a coordinated effort to wipe out Covid Cheats and strong teams from Crime, CyPAD and Districts were sent to locate and dismantle the infrastructure of Covid cheaters.

CyPAD, being the focal unit, reached out to I4C/MHA and through it, to the National Banking and Financial Sector and the Regulators of Telecom Industry apart from leading private players and operators.

By May 1, as the Covid cheat was peaking, CyPAD was sending out 12 hourly alerts to (a) I4C and its Joint Cyber Crime Investigation Platforms of Mewat, Jamtara, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, (b) DOT and (c) Banking Sector with specific, actionable information to get the beneficiary accounts frozen, the cheater's SIM cards suspended pending KYC re-verification and related IMEIs black-listed.

Delhi police adopted a two-pronged strategy first, facilitated citizens for easy lodging of complaints at helpline and portal and second proactively instantly started taking actions to dismantle the ecosystem of covid frauds.

"The details of arrested cheats were shared with media and with your cooperation the citizens were advised to follow safety tips during online transactions," the statement read.

As the trend analysis will show, all in all, the peak started to show a rapid decline within 48 hours and the daily reporting of cases has now come back to the pre-first May levels with the coordinated police action, the Covid cheater is being well taken care of.

"We were taking cognizance on one hand and acted on the criminals and their ecosystem and successfully curbed the rising trends of Covid cheats", informed Delhi Police.

There are 20 teams in action on ground in several States; a substantial number of arrests are likely in the coming few days.

The aspect of physical arrests is being taken up with great prudence and caution since there is widespread lockdown, and the police staff has to adhere to personal safety protocols while operating in remote areas of far-off States. (ANI)

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