According to reports in India, a group of seven people (4 Indians and 3 Nigerians) has been arrested for allegedly carrying out one of India's biggest online frauds. Idrish D’Costa, Sinedu Christopher, Ifaain Odhu, Irfan A Dehmukh, Tabiz Deshmukh, Rajesh Gaikwad, and Nizamuddin Shaikh are being charged with hacking into over 2,000 bank accounts in India.

It is reported that the group of alleged cyber criminals used various methods including phishing e-mails, SMS, the setting up of a fake ICT company, hacking their victims e-mail accounts, to get their targets' online banking details. Once they had the details they allegedly setup dummy bank accounts and would transfer the monies via an e-wallet before exchanging and trading it for Bitcoin.

β€œThis cyber fraud is emerging to be one of the country’s largest and widespread. Just 50 victims lost more than a crore of their savings. We have till now detected 50 cases in which they have purposely chosen high profile victims. The amount siphoned off currently stands at Rs 1.03 crore. The gang used Russian proxy servers to host the fake websites. The money siphoned off were converted online in bitcoins and transferred to e-wallets and then to different bank accounts in India and Nigeria. We have learnt that the fraudsters have cheated people in other countries also by the same modus operandi," Jeetendra Yadav, Assistant Commissioner of police , is reported to have said.

The alleged crimes likely were successful partly because the group would allegedly move the money out of their victim's bank accounts between 3am and 6am local Indian time when their targets were likely asleep.

The cybercrime highlights the importance of why everyone needs to be alert and vigilant when clicking on links they receive via e-mail or even SMS. As was the case with this group in India, many times some of the phishing links have names similar, but not the same, as legitimate websites and even look like legitimate banking websites. It is important that people inspect each message and link before they click on it, and when in doubt, do not click on it.

The suspected cyber criminals created phishing websites, hosted on Russian servers, that cloned the design of India's income tax website and also of leading banks in India. In total, the seven accused allegedly targeted 4,727 people across India, of which over 2,500 were duped.

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