A gang of five from Rajasthan were arrested in Bengaluru for allegedly scamming money out of people by committing QR code fraud. The group even allegedly created a WhatsApp contact using the name of Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao in at least one instance of fraud.
The Central Crime Branch sleuths on Friday arrested five men — Karan Singh (35), Akram Khan (18), Aris Khan (21), Jamil (42), and Mehzair Khan (20). The arrests helped the police resolve around 200 cases of QR Code fraud in the city, The Hindu reported.
Deccan Herald reported that most of the QR code frauds reported from in Bengaluru over the past one year were allegedly committed by this same gang.
The gang members allegedly cheated sellers on OLX, Quickr and other ecommerce sites. Posing as buyers of the products on sale, Jamil, the mastermind of the gang and his accomplices, would generally contact people selling furniture, vehicles and electronics, the DH report added.
They would allegedly agree to buy the product after a short chat with the seller. Once the seller is convinced, they would send the seller a QR code of any UPI apps and ask them to scan it, stating it would facilitate the bank account transfer, The Hindu reports. Police said that the gang would convince the sellers that it was for additional safety from phishing expeditions.
Police say that the sellers would end up losing the money that was agreed to during the sale of the product to Jamil or one of his gang members once the QR code was scanned on their phones.
According to The Hindu report, Jamil, who was convicted of stealing vehicles a few years ago and was out of jail, was the mastermind of the plot. The man in charge of operations was Aris, who had allegedly worked in HDFC Bank, Google Pay and PayTM. Police said that Aris is an expert in creating fake QR codes. He also managed the bank account where all the skimmed money was deposited. Mehzair and Akram were in charge of chatting with people and negotiating the sale.
How the gang used the Police Commissioner’s name to skim money
The gang gave wrong names to its customers and claimed to be police officers or from the forces.
Jamil allegedly downloaded Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao’s photo from the internet. He then saved it on WhatsApp as his DP. He also claimed to be Bhaskar Rao while conversing with sellers. He allegedly impersonated Bhaskar Rao to extract revenge on the Bengaluru Police as they were trying to nab the gang, the DH report added.
Jamil allegedly contacted 60-year-old Sridhar, a resident of Hulimavu who wanted to sell his treadmill on OLX and allegedly cheated him of Rs 50,000 in January this year. Shridhar allegedly filed a complaint with the police after which the incident came to light, the CCB sleuths said.
CCB sleuths tracked down the gang’s family to Bharatpur in Rajasthan. DH said in its report that the family members would send their minor relatives to pose as the suspects, making it difficult for the police to interrogate. However, the investigators were able to track down the five men and arrest them.