Hi-Tech Fake ID Card Network Busted: This Is How Scammers Sold Counterfeit PAN & Aadhaar To Cybercriminals | #cybercrime | #infosec


LUCKNOW: In a major operation, the cyber police in Uttar Pradesh have successfully dismantled a sophisticated fake identity card online platform that was being used by scammers to facilitate cybercrime activities across India.

The gang behind the operation developed websites/applications that generated thousands of fake PAN cards, voter ID and Aadhaar cards, which were then sold to cybercriminals to open bank accounts, obtain SIM cards, and engage in fraudulent activities.

The gang operated by exploiting their access to an identity card printing service, which provided them with legitimate PAN, Voter ID and Aadhaar card details, including the names of the cardholders.

Utilizing their online platforms, the gang manipulated these legitimate details and morphed them to create counterfeit documents. The resulting fake documents contained valid Aadhaar or PAN numbers and names, but all other information was fabricated.

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These forged identities were sold at a premium to criminals who used them to open bank accounts and acquire SIM cards, allowing them to carry out illegal activities. The reliance of banks and telecom providers on identity card numbers alone for verification created a significant challenge for law enforcement, as the fake details led investigations astray.

The breakthrough, in this case, came when the Varanasi cybercrime police station team arrested three individuals, including the leader of an inter-state gang involved in the production and distribution of fake Aadhaar cards and PAN cards.

The gang had managed to get access to UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) and NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) API through a fraudulent website and other online channels. According to the police, at no point database of UIDAI and NSDL got compromised or breached. The arrested individuals were responsible for supplying counterfeit documents to cyber criminals.

“This was a sophisticated operation that involved the illegal purchase of UIDAI and NSDL database APIs from active cybercriminals on the Darkweb and Telegram. Misusing these details the gang was able to create thousands of fake PAN cards and Aadhaar cards, which they sold to cybercriminals to open bank accounts, obtain SIM cards, and engage in fraudulent activities,” said Prof Triveni Singh, SP Cyber Crime.

Singh highlighted that his team is trying to crackdown against the app developer, API access seller and those who were in the supply chain network of this gang across India.

WATCH: Prof Triveni Singh, SP, Cyber Crime Explaining Modus Operandi Of Scammers

MODUS OPERANDI:

The gang’s modus operandi involved purchasing domains from service providers and creating websites using different coding techniques. Further investigations revealed that the accused had created fake Aadhaar cards using a fraudulent website called www.digitalportal.in.

This website allowed them to input Aadhaar numbers, names, addresses, photos, and signatures of different individuals. These websites were being promoted through sponsored listing and paid promotion by Youtubers and influencers on their channels.

These websites allowed users to create accounts using their mobile numbers and email IDs, which were then automatically verified. The websites offered two types of programming for generating fake Aadhaar cards, PAN cards, and other digital documents. The gang had created distribution channels across India.

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Programming 1 entailed the illegal purchase of UIDAI and NSDL database APIs from active cybercriminals on the Darkweb and Telegram. By integrating these APIs into their website, the gang could extract an individual’s data from the Aadhaar database when they entered their Aadhaar card number and placed their thumb on a fingerprint scanner. The forged Aadhaar cards were then printed to resemble the originals, making them indistinguishable.

Programming 2 utilized an offline manual method on the website. Individuals could input any Aadhaar number and manually fill in the name, address, photo, and signature of another person to generate a fake Aadhaar card within moments. To print the counterfeit Aadhaar and PAN cards, users were required to make payments through the website’s installed payment gateway, with each card costing Rs. 20. All these websites had various payment gateway and payment modes including Paytm.

The Varanasi Cybercrime Police Station team delved into the domain details, SSL logs, control panel logs, and payment gateway associated with the website, leading to the identification of Pankaj Yadav, a resident of Siwan, Bihar.

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Pankaj Yadav was apprehended on 24th June 2023, and the investigation revealed that he was working in collaboration with Afzal Alam, who operated several similar websites like www.digitalfastprint.co.in, www.digitalfastprint.online, www.digitalfastprint.in, and www.reprintportal.xyz.

Further examination of Pankaj Yadav’s mobile phone, laptop, and bank accounts led law enforcement to uncover the involvement of Afzal Alam and his associates. Consequently, on 11th July 2023, the Varanasi Cybercrime Police Station team successfully apprehended Nazir Miya, son of Afzal Alam, along with two other individuals from the Lucknow district.

So far nine criminals have been arrested.  Through an extensive investigation involving electronic surveillance and the examination of fake websites, the Varanasi Cybercrime Police Station team successfully arrested three individuals from the Lucknow district. The operation led to the recovery of laptops, mobile phones, SIM cards, and other materials used in the commission of the crimes.

The initial breakthrough occurred on 7th May 2023, with the arrest of Chandan Yadav and Deepak Yadav, residents of Jehanabad, Bihar. These individuals had been utilizing fake Aadhaar and PAN cards to open fraudulent bank accounts in various states across the country for illicit cyber activities.

The dismantling of this high-tech fake identity card application is a significant achievement for the Uttar Pradesh cyber police in their ongoing efforts to combat cybercrime. It serves as a reminder of the importance of robust security measures and constant vigilance to safeguard against fraudulent activities in the digital age. The investigations are still ongoing, and law enforcement agencies are actively working to bring all the culprits involved to justice and prevent further misuse of fake identity cards in cybercriminal activities across India.

 

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