Posing as furniture buyer, man swindles money from Paytm-linked account

50 fake Aadhaar and 52 SIM cards recovered from him

A 34-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh was arrested for allegedly duping people on the pretext of buying furniture from them through an online goods exchange platform. Then, he would siphon off money from their accounts using fraudulent methods.

The accused, Pankaj Verma, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh, used to call sellers on OLX to purchase their products and upon finalising the deal, he would sent them malicious links to their numbers that resulted in deduction of money from their Paytm-linked accounts, they said.

Modus operandi

The matter came to light in November 2019 after a complaint was received at Keshav Puram police station from one Mayank Sinha, who alleged that his colleague Rajiv Bodwade wanted to sell his furniture and posted an advertisement on OLX, police said. In his complaint, Mr. Sinha alleged that his colleague received a call based on the advertisement from an unknown person who showed interest in buying the furniture and sent a link on WhatsApp for online payment.

As Bodwade did not have a Paytm account, Mr. Sinha clicked on the link through his Paytm account, due to which ₹19,358 got deducted from his SBI bank account, which was linked to Paytm.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-West) Usha Rangnani said that during the investigation through specific cyber analysis and local intelligence, the user of the alleged mobile number, Pankaj Verma, was apprehended from his hometown in Aligarh. A USB drive was recovered from him in which 50 fake Aadhaar cards were found. All these Aadhaar cards had different names and addresses but photographs on the cards were of Verma, she said.

Fake accounts

The police have also recovered 52 fake SIM cards from his possession and found out that he was using 15 fake Paytm accounts simultaneously on his mobile phone. Investigations revealed that Verma worked as a sales representative in a telecom company from 2008 to 2017, where he learnt about how to activate new SIM cards. Thereafter, he opened a centre to make documents such as Aadhaar cards, PAN cards, Voter ID cards, community certificates and other certificates, the officer said.

“In the process, he used to make extra copies of the documents which were submitted by the customers and made more than 500 fake Aadhaar cards so as to get SIM cards to hide his identity. He also got flexi SIMs (used for activation of new SIM). He used to sell fake SIMs to other cheaters in West Bengal and Mewat,” the DCP said.

Verma admitted his involvement in the case and has been arrested, police said, adding that efforts are in progress to trace his involvement in other cases also.

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