Gurgaon: The mobile phones snatched by the three men arrested for the murder of software engineer Pooja Sharma in Sector 65 were used by fraudsters for duping people online.
Hariom, Irshad and Jitender specialised in snatching mobile phones from commuters on Golf Course Road (Extension) and Sohna Road. During interrogation, they admitted to having snatched over a thousand mobile phones in the last 6-7 months in Gurgaon.
They used to sell those phones to a shopkeeper in Nuh for Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 each, police said. “The shopkeeper used to change the IMEI number of the mobile handset and sell it at a higher price to youngsters in Mewat and Bharatpur, who then used the phones to commit online frauds,” said a police officer, who is part of the investigation. Police are likely to arrest the shopkeeper in the next few days.
According to police, Jitender, a two-wheeler mechanic, came in touch with Hariom, who used to do odd jobs, and they started stealing two-wheelers. “They got in touch with a person last year who offered to purchase a stolen mobile phone for a certain price. Considering it less risky and more profitable than stealing vehicles, they started snatching mobile phones from commuters,” said the officer, adding that they used to snatch 20-25 mobile phones on an average in a week.
“Investigation is underway. We are trying to join the dots to trace the stolen phones,” said ACP (crime) Preet Pal Sangwan.
Mewat, Bharatpur and Mathura, which form the tri-junction of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, have recently emerged as cyber fraud’s new ‘Jamtara’ — the sleepy district of Jharkhand often known as the country’s phishing capital. More than 80% of cyber frauds in the last one year in Gurgaon have been traced to this region. There is a huge demand for stolen mobile phones in these areas, as once they have committed a few frauds using one phone, they usually discard it and switch to another to avoid being detected. Police said while online fraudsters from this region specialise in OLX-related fraud, they have now started committing all kinds of cyber frauds related to debit/credit cards and mobile wallets, as well as impersonating customer care representatives to dupe people.
Elaborating on why the region has merged as a hub of cyber frauds, the officer said such crime thrives in areas where boundaries of multiple states merge. Telecommunication companies have different tower network regions for different states, which police use to track the location of mobile phones.
In the tri-junction of Mewat, Bharatpur and Mathura, a “black spot” of networks is created. As a result, mobile phones in these areas catch different signals (mobile networks) and it becomes difficult to trace their exact location, police said.