Rise of Cybercrime: Tripura Falls Victim to Scammers; Three Arrested

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Posted in Featured, Northeast, Tripura
Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura

Agartala, July 01, 2023: Cybercrime, once prevalent mainly in big cities and metropolitan areas, has now extended its reach to the small hill state of Tripura. Agartala, the capital city, has become a hub for cybercriminals, causing distress among its residents. Even the Kadamtala area of North Tripura district has not been spared from its clutches.

A recent incident involved a father-daughter duo named Mithu Gaur and Lakshmi Gaur. They rode on a scooter and visited two traders in Kadamtala on June 29 last. Their first stop was at the residence of Satya Ranjan Nath, who was not present at the time. Undeterred, they proceeded to the shop after inquiring with others in the house. Upon reaching the shop, they interrogated Satya Ranjan Nath about his family’s COVID-19 vaccination status, including the booking details and the mobile number used for the vaccination. Satya Ranjan Nath responded that everyone in his family had received the vaccine through bookings made on his mobile number. The duo then questioned his satisfaction with the vaccine and requested a meeting with their supposed founder in Agartala.

During their conversation, they manipulated Satya Ranjan Nath’s mobile phone. They mentioned that a recovery officer from Agartala would contact him again. Half an hour after their departure, Satya Ranjan Nath received a message on his mobile notifying him that Rs 82,000 had been deducted from his Bandhan Bank account. Fortunately, Satya Ranjan Nath had provided his employee with a photograph of the front and back of the scooter, which proved useful later.

On the same day, during the festival of Eid, the duo approached Sandip Deb, a merchant dealing in husk material. Sandeep’s shop was located at Premtala. They inquired about the number of COVID-19 vaccines Sandip had received, to which he responded that he had received two vaccines, while everyone in his family had received three. They expressed concern about the unavailability of Sandip’s pre-arranged phone number for calls and messages.

Sandip explained that the emergency-purpose Vodafone number was intermittently accessible. Using various tactics, the scammers even took possession of Sandip’s phone and initiated a video call from another device, claiming that Sandeep’s phone was malfunctioning. Afterward, they departed, stating that the phone would not work. Later, at 3:20 p.m., when Sandip returned home to have lunch, he discovered a message on his mobile indicating a deduction of Rs 2,70,000 from his Bandhan Bank account.

Disturbed by these incidents, both victims approached North district’s Superintendent of Police Bhanupada Chakraborty, who registered a case at the Kadamtala police station. Based on the scooter’s registration number, Mithu Gaur and Lakshmi Gaur were apprehended by the Superintendent of Police. Following their interrogation, Gautam Biswas, a resident of Baruakandi Ward No. 1, was arrested and taken to Dharmanagar Police Station.

It is noteworthy that all three individuals arrested hail from Baruakandi Gram Panchayat. The police remain optimistic that through their arrests and subsequent questioning, they will uncover the Agartala-based gang responsible for such fraudulent activities and shed light on their operations.

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