Cops go slow on online fraud

AHMEDABAD: A UK citizen, Wilfred Louis, 33, was arrested by Navrangpura police on January 10. But even after ten days, they have got nothing out of the culprit.

Not that Wilfred is a tough nut to crack. The cops have failed for a simple reason that they do not have seem to have the time or inclination to solve the case."

The biggest hurdle they face is lack of expertise in dealing with e-frauds. Police sources said that the case files had been shelved soon after Uttarayan bandobast. The accused has been sent to Sabarmati Central Jail.

Wilfred, who claimed to be a UK citizen, had purchased gold jewellery from a shop on CG Road and offered a credit card for payment. The card reader, however, detected the fraud and generated an automated message that first tipped off the bank and then the police.

Cops promptly arrested Wilfred and also got a seven-day remand. But, Wilfred did not have to talk much as the cops were busy attending to routine bandobast.

"But what we know right now is, he is not a UK citizen, as we confirmed it with the embassy at Mumbai. He has an accomplice in the UK who arranged for his passport and perhaps a fake identity. We suspect him to be a Nigerian but are awaiting substantial proof. We cannot communicate with him as we do not know his language and he does not seem to know ours," said R D Rawal, sub-inspector of Navrangpura police, investigating officer of the case.

But what about checking the five email accounts of Wilfred which seem to be written in a simplistic code which seems gibberish at the first glance? Though the mail accounts contain crucial details on more than 15 credit card accounts, cops have no answers yet.

Now, the crime branch sleuths have joined forces with the city police to probe this racket as "This is a case of cyber crime and expert investigators are needed."

"The crime branch has the right to interrogate the accused but right now, Navrangpura police is probing the case. If needed, we will seek for more remand of the accused," said A K Jadeja, deputy commissioner of police, Zone I.

Jadeja also added that the pressure of routine crime and law and order duty weigh heavy on police and in some cases where technical help is needed, crime branch officials pitch in.

An official told however TOI that the investigation has already revealed other members of this gang of frauds are operating in various locations in India.

"They use financial gateways of international banks on the Internet, popularly known as Visa and MasterCard. When the detail is stolen from other countries, the users of the card may not even know that the detail lies with some other card used in India. They most probably used skimmers to extract the data and then copy it on other cards. The cards and the data were not matching - data was of another card. But it is difficult to check it manually," he said.

The machine identifies the eight-digit number given by the parent company - Visa and MasterCard. For the card reader, it does not matter to the reader. Police have now sought help of other Afro-British people on visit to India.

"From the numbers, we have got from Louis' mobile, we called up his three accomplice but they simply talk gibberish even when approached in English. They know perfectly what we speak but they do not want to answer," said an official.

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