The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has held the leader of a fraud gang who used to target mobile banking users and misappropriated money from them.
Sohel Ahmed, 36, used to collect account numbers of mobile banking users from agents and swindle money from accounts by collecting PIN numbers from through various tricks, said Lt Col Rakibul Hasan, commanding officer of RAB-3.
The gang members collected the mobile banking accounts by bribing the agents. Then they called the account holders from cloned SIM-cards similar to the mobile banking service provider.
The corrupt agents would instantly provide the gang with account details if any big transaction took place.
"I am calling you from the customer care, sir. The money you have sent or received ended up going to a wrong number. Now please follow the instruction as I say," Sohel would tell his targets from a hideout in Mohakhali, Dhaka.
"The users were asked to dial codes or to click the links provided in the messages. Money from the account would get stolen once the user dialed the code or clicked the link," said RAB.
The elite force said the gang used to target female users and accounts that transacted a minimum of Tk50,000. The bribe for agents also had a fixed rate.
Lt Col Rakibul Hasan said they seized huge SIM-cards, multi-SIM gateway devices, a laptop, a signal booster, three modems and other equipment.
Sohel confessed that he had been running the ring since 2017 and spent most of his income for drugs. RAB also obtained information about other members of the syndicate.
RAB-3 Deputy Director ABM Faijul Islam said that they managed to evade arrest for a long time as the gang members called from each SIM card only once.
"They also learnt techniques to evade police tracking and had been changing locations frequently. That posed a challenge to us in tracing the team," added Faijul.
The deputy director said they were looking into suspicious SIM-card sales as one of the gang members previously worked for a mobile telephone operator as a SIM-card distributor.