Delhi Police has arrested a 40-year-old Nigerian national involved in hacking people’s WhatsApp accounts and defrauding them.
The accused, Okwudiri Paschal, is a part of a group operating from Nigeria that hunts individuals through social media, the police said on Saturday, November 20.
The accused was arrested outside an ATM in Bengaluru’s Banaswadi area, following a complaint received by a Delhi resident who claimed that he lost money after he clicked on a link sent to him from an unknown number.
According to the complainant, he received a WhatsApp message stating that the facilities on WhatsApp are being upgraded for which system is generating a 6-digit code.
When the complainant typed his mobile number followed by the 6-digit code provided in the message, his WhatsApp account stopped functioning, intending it has got hacked.
According to Delhi Police sources, the group that is operating from Nigeria, hunts individuals through social media like Facebook before zeroing in on the individuals. They mainly target affluent people to further prey on their circle.
After selecting the targets, their contact numbers are accessed. Once an account is hacked, their WhatsApp ID is used to send messages to their contact posing any financial need.
Delhi Police has also learnt that from generating the 6-digit code to sending messages, the backend work is operated entirely from Nigeria. The police are exploring legal avenues to nab the group operating in Nigeria.
The bank account detail where money was transferred by victims was accessed from the complainant. The bank account was traced to Bengaluru.
Following this, a joint team of Delhi Police led by Inspector Vishal Chaudhary laid a trap near ATMs located in Bengaluru’s Banaswadi from where transactions in the said bank account was observed.
When the accused came to withdraw money, the police team nabbed him. Seven other ATM cards, numerous SIM cards and four mobile phones were recovered from his possession.
During interrogation, it has been learnt that the group cheated over hundreds of people throughout India.
Deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav said that this was the first case in which a Delhi police team laid a trap outside the Bengaluru ATM and caught the suspect red handed.
DCP Yadav said that Paschal sensed police had spotted him and tried to flee.
“While trying to flee, he collided with a scooter, which also fell down. The Delhi Police team arrested the accused from the spot. Seven other ATM cards, numerous SIM Cards, and four mobile phones were also recovered from his possession. We have brought him to Delhi on transit remand,” he added.
A city court on Friday sent Paschal to police custody for eight days.
Police said they are trying to identify the other members of Paschal’s gang.