Gang that #hacked into 2,000 a/cs #busted

Cyber crime sleuths of the Criminal Investigation Department have traced a gang that was involved in multiple Rs 49 withdrawals from over 2,000 accounts in the state in 2016.

The gang members, who hail from Jharkhand, were picked up on charges of hacking 2,020 accounts of State Bank of Mysore customers over two days in April last year.

They have been identified as a 19-year-old high school dropout, Suraj Mohali, a native of Mirga village in Jamtara district, Jharkhand; Kimmi Kumar Manda; and two other associates.

Modus operandi

The accused used to withdraw Rs 49 from the savings accounts and Mastercard holders of SBM in Bengaluru, Sringeri, Mangaluru and Tirthahalli. They made nearly 1.56 lakh transactions and withdrew Rs 79 lakh from these accounts over two days, said the police.

After hacking into the accounts, the gang diverted the money to their various bank accounts, which they had opened by submitting fake documents. The SBM management had filed a complaint after customers raised issues about wrongful transactions from their accounts. Following this, the cyber crime police started tracking the suspects. They got a breakthrough when the gang members used some of the stolen money to recharge mobile phones and purchase household appliances.

During interrogation, Suraj confessed that they were part of a bigger network that has been operating from Jharkhand for several years. The police recovered details of hundreds of bank accounts from Suraj.

The cyber crime team went to Jharkhand and arrested four of the suspects. Two of them were brought to Bengaluru on December 23 and were remanded in judicial custody following interrogation. Two of their accomplices are in the custody of the Jharkhand Police, and three others are lodged in a prison in Jharkhand.

“We are planning to get a body warrant to bring them to Bengaluru for interrogation,” a senior police officer said.

The officer said Suraj confessed that the kingpin, who is yet to be identified, use to train SSLC dropouts on how to withdraw money from banks. He had contacted several youths in five villages in Jharkhand and gave them a smartphone. He would give them details of bank accounts and instruct them to withdraw not more than Rs 49 from each account at one time.